The hibernation unit, also referred to as the hibernation chamber, (AUDIO: Bloodtide) with the force that kept the Silurians in suspended animation being called the hibernation matrix, (TV: The Blood Line) was an item of Silurian technology which allowed them to enter into a state of hibernation in order to survive harsh conditions and the centuries. They resembled coffin-shaped blocks in which a Silurian resided.
The Silurians built the hibernation units during their rule of the planet Earth when they first detected a planetoid that would devastate the world and leave it uninhabitable. It was decided that the race would enter into hibernation until the planet became livable once more. However, the mechanism was faulty and did not reawaken the race until a new power source was discovered after humanity had inherited the planet. (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
The criminal Tulok, after being exiled by his people for genetic crimes, wreaked his revenge on his race by sabotaging the hibernation chambers which destroyed several settlements except for a dozen or so. They made use of hydrogen fusion reactors as a power source. (AUDIO: Bloodtide)