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Dogger Bank is a large sandbank in a shallow area of the North Sea about 100 kilometres (62 miles) off the east coast of England. It extends over approximately 17,600 km2 (6,800 sq mi), with its dimensions being about 260 km (160 mi) long and up to 97 km (60 mi) broad. The water depth ranges from 15 to 36 metres (from 49 to 118 feet), about 20 m (66 ft) shallower than the surrounding sea. It is a productive fishing bank. The name comes from dogger, an old Dutch word for fishing boat, especially for catching cod.
Geologically, the feature is most likely a moraine, formed during the Pleistocene. At differing times during the last ice age it was land joined to the mainland, or an island. Fishing trawlers working the area have dredged up large amounts of moor peat, remains of mammoth and rhinoceros, and occasionally Paleolithic hunting artefacts. The bank was part of a large landmass, known as Doggerland, which connected Britain to the European mainland until it was flooded some time after the end of the last ice age.[dead link]
In 1931, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the United Kingdom took place below the bank, measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale. Its focus was 23 km beneath the bank, and the quake was felt in countries all around the North Sea, causing damage across eastern England.
The bank has been the site of several naval actions:
- During the Nine Years' War on 18 June 1696 a French fleet under the command of Jean Bart was victorious over the ships of the Grand Alliance.
- During the War of American Independence, a Royal Navy squadron fought a Dutch squadron on 5 August 1781 in the Battle of Dogger Bank.
- During the Russo-Japanese War, Russian naval ships opened fire on British fishing boats in the Dogger Bank incident on 21 October 1904, mistaking them for Japanese torpedo boats.
- In the First World War, the area saw battles in 1915 and 1916 between the Royal Navy and the German High Seas Fleet.
- In 1966, the German submarine U-Hai sank during a gale. 19 of 20 men died, one of the worst peacetime naval disasters in German history.
The bank is an important fishing area, with cod and herring being caught in large numbers. It gives its name to the Dogger sea area used in the BBC Radio 4 Shipping Forecast. Several shipwrecks lie on the bank.
Dogger Bank has been identified as an oceanic environment that exhibits high primary productivity throughout the year in the form of phytoplankton. As such, it has been proposed by various groups to designate the area a Marine Nature Reserve.
In January 2010, a licence to develop a wind farm on Dogger Bank was granted to a consortium of developers. The wind farm is projected to develop up to 9 gigawatts of power, as part of a planned nine zone project of 32 gigawatts. Construction is scheduled to start around 2014 at the earliest.
- Stride, A.H (January 1959). "On the origin of the Dogger Bank, in the North Sea". Geological magazine 96 (1): 33–34. Retrieved 12 January 2010.
- University of Sussex, School of Life Sciences, C1119 Modern human evolution, Lecture 6, slide 23
- "The Dogger Bank - A Potential MPA". WWF. Retrieved 2008-10-15.
- "BBC News - New UK offshore wind farm licences are announced". news.bbc.co.uk. January 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-08.