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Encyclopedia > Trench
A gas main being laid in a trench.
A gas main being laid in a trench.

A trench is a type of excavation or depression in the ground. Trenches are generally defined by being deeper than they are wide (as opposed to a wider gully or ditch), and by being narrow compared to their length (as opposed to a simple hole).[1] A trench is a narrow depression in the ground. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (844x1166, 372 KB) A polyethylene gas main being laid in a trench under Chesterton Road, Cambridge. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (844x1166, 372 KB) A polyethylene gas main being laid in a trench under Chesterton Road, Cambridge. ... Gully in El Paso County, Colorado, USA. A gully is a landform created by running water eroding sharply into a hillside. ... Ditches at the Ouse Washes nature reserve. ... Look up Hole in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...



A number of areas exist in which trenches play a significant role:


Trenches have long been used to carry water to or away from areas. Trenches can be used for draining purposes, leading water away from a swamp that is to be dried out, likewise they can be used for irrigation purposes, directing water into dry fields. Both uses generally require a slope for the water to flow down. An urban explorer stands near the outfall of a muffin shaped brick and concrete storm drain, under Saint Paul, Minnesota. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Irrigation is the artificial application of water to the soil usually for assisting in growing crops. ...


Archeologists may use the 'trench method', pioneered by Dame Kathleen Kenyon in Israel, for searching and excavating ancient ruins or to dig into strata of sedimented material to get a sideways (layered) view of the deposits - with a hope of being able to place found objects or materials in a chronological order. The advantage of this method is that it destroys only a small part of the site (those areas where the trenches, often arranged in a grid pattern, are located). However, this method also has the disadvantage of only revealing small slices of the whole volume, and modern archeological digs usually employ combination methods.[2] Dame Kathleen Mary Kenyon (5 January 1906 – 24 August 1978), important English archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent and excavator of Jericho in Jordan from 1952 to 1958. ... The term archaeological excavation has a double meaning. ... Rocky landscape with ruins, by Nicolaes Berchem, ca. ... For other uses, see strata (novel) and strata title. ...


Trenches are a natural feature in many landscapes. Some are created by rivers in flow (which may have long since fallen dry), others are features created by geological movement, such as oceanic trenches. The later form is relatively deep, linear and narrow, and is formed by plate subduction.[3] For other uses, see River (disambiguation). ... The oceanic trenches are hemispheric-scale long but narrow topographic depressions of the sea floor. ... Geometry of a subduction zone - insets to show accretionary prism and partial melting of hydrated asthenosphere. ...


In the civil engineering field of construction or maintenance of infrastructure, trenches play a major role. They may be created to search for pipes and other infrastructure that is known to be underground in some general location, but whose exact location has been lost ('search trench' or 'search slit'). They are also used to put easily damaged and obstrusive infrastructure or utilities (such as gas mains, water mains or telephone lines underground. A similar use of higher bulk is pipeline transport. Finally, they may be created as the first step of creating a foundation wall. The Falkirk Wheel in Scotland. ... A public utility is a company that maintains the infrastructure for a public service. ... A municipal water system is a large system of reservoirs and large-scale piping which supplies fresh water, suitable for human consumption, to houses and other residences. ... A telephone line (or just line) is a single-user circuit on a telephone communications system. ... An elevated section of the Alaska Pipeline. ... A foundation is a structure that transmits loads from a building or road to the underlying ground. ...

Military usage

Main article: Trench warfare

While trenches have often been dug as defensive measures, in the pre-firearm eras, they were mainly a type of hindrance for an attacker of a fortified location, such as the moat around a castle (this is technically called a ditch). Only with the advent of accurate firearms, and the tactics that evolved in World War I, did the use of trenches as positions for the defender of a fortification become common (though the Māori of New Zealand were known to have used it earlier in their Pā fortifications in the late 19th Century). The usage of trenches evolved very quickly in the First World War, until whole systems of extensive main trenches, backup trenches (in case the first lines were overrun) and communication trenches had been developed, often stretching dozens of kilometres along a front without interruption, and some kilometres further back from the opponents lines. Trench warfare is a form of war in which both opposing armies have static lines of defense. ... Firearms redirects here. ... The moated manor house of Baddesley Clinton in Warwickshire, England Moats (also known as a Fosse) were deep and wide water-filled trenches, excavated to provide a barrier against attack upon castle ramparts or other fortifications. ... For other uses, see Castle (disambiguation). ... Ditches at the Ouse Washes nature reserve. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ... This article is about the Māori people of New Zealand. ... A pā or pa (pronounced pah) was a type of Māori village or community fortified and built for defence. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Other uses

  • Trenches are often used for mass graves, sometimes even dug by prisoners about to be executed, as described in the World War II novel Night.
  • Sunken trenches may be combined with a wall on one of their sides to form a rare type of hidden fence, a ha-ha.

Image:Mass Grave Bergen Belsen May 1945. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... Night is a work by Elie Wiesel based on his experience, as a young Orthodox Jew, of being sent with his family to the German death camp at Auschwitz, and later to the concentration camp at Buchenwald. ... The ha-ha or sunken fence is a type of boundary to a garden, pleasure-ground, or park, designed not to interrupt the view and to be invisible until closely approached. ...

See also

Look up Trench in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... Ditches at the Ouse Washes nature reserve. ... Gully in El Paso County, Colorado, USA. A gully is a landform created by running water eroding sharply into a hillside. ... World War I example For the film, see Trenchcoat (film). ... Trench foot (also known as immersion foot) is a medical condition caused by prolonged exposure of the feet to damp and cold. ...


  1. ^ Code of Federal Regulations, Title 29, Volume 8, Page 374 (Code revised as of July 1, 2003, via Compliance Magazine's website)
  2. ^ Archaeology - Restore! Magazine, Winter 1998
  3. ^ Ocean trench (glossary from Student Resource Center website, Houghton Mifflin college division)

Houghton Mifflin Company is a leading educational publisher in the United States. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Oceanic trench - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (3753 words)
Trenches along with volcanic arcs and zones of earthquakes that dip under the volcanic arc as deeply as 700 km are diagnostic of convergent plate boundaries and their deeper manifestations, subduction zones.
Trenches are centerpieces of the distinctive physiography of a convergent plate margin.
Trenches distant from an influx of continental sediments lack an accretionary prism, and the inner slope of such trenches is commonly composed of igneous or metamorphic rocks.
The Trench Mortars (871 words)
Often the focus of infantry grumbling - for a front-line trench mortar was certain to draw enemy fire - the TM Batteries played an important part in gaining the ascendancy in both attack and defence.
In 1914, the Army was not equipped with trench mortars.
Trench mortars were used in a variety of defensive and offensive roles, from the suppression of an enemy machine-gun, sniper post or other local feature, to the coordinated firing of barrages.
  More results at FactBites »



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