Basement hydrogeology and fortification of the Channel Islands: legacies of British and German military engineering
N. S. Robins, E. P. F. Rose, C. S. Cheney, 2012. "Basement hydrogeology and fortification of the Channel Islands: legacies of British and German military engineering", Military Aspects of Hydrogeology, E. P. F. Rose, J. D. Mather
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The islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark lie close to the Normandy coast of France. They expose a largely Precambrian crystalline basement of metamorphic and igneous rocks – Jersey and Alderney also expose some early Palaeozoic clastic sediments – and all have a thin but widespread Quaternary sedimentary cover. The three largest islands were progressively fortified by the British between the early 13th and mid-19th centuries, and by German forces during occupation in World War II, a legacy illustrated by the castles, forts and numerous German coastal fortifications that still adorn them. A German military geologist based on Jersey from mid-1941 to mid-1944, and a military geological team on Guernsey and Alderney during 1942, generated hydrogeological maps and reports that were then in advance of understanding of crystalline basement aquifers elsewhere in the British Isles. All the major documents have now been found in Germany, the USA and UK, although none survived on the islands themselves. Geological mapping and hydrogeological studies postwar under the auspices of the British Geological Survey were completed without access to German data. However, German and British data together now facilitate an appraisal of the heavily stressed aquifers on these small, hard-rock islands over an unusually long (65 year) timespan.