Vredefort Dome and Tswaing meteorite impact craters

Vredefort Meteorite impact crater and the Tswaing Meteorite Crater

Vredefort Meteorite impact – World’s largest and most deeply eroded in the Free State.

Tswaing Meteorite Crater, in Tshwane Pretoria.

Vredefort Meteorite impact crater

Vredefort Dome Unique geology and topography.

Black crystallized impact melt rock and interact with Dome geology.

Mountain view site overlooking the dome core and dome collar.

Quarry to see spectacular geological displays.

Shatter cone display.

Vredefort Dome, approximately 120 km south-west of Johannesburg Vredefort Dome bears witness to the world’s greatest known single energy release event, which had devastating global effects. It provides critical evidence of the earth’s geological history and is crucial to our understanding of the evolution of the planet. Some 70 cubic kilometers of rock would have been vaporized in the impact.

Gigantic meteorite of 10 kilometres causing a blast of over a thousand-megaton.

The Vredefort structure is currently regarded the biggest and oldest clearly visible impact structure on Earth. It also has as many identified butterflies as the whole of Great Britain The Vredefort impact structure extends as far as Johannesburg in the northeast and to Welkom in the southwest.The most significant effect of the Vredefort Dome is that when the meteorite hit the earth, impact debris that was thrown up, covering the gold-bearing rocks of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), thus protecting the gold reef from erosion over the subsequent two billion years. The impact led to extreme folding and faulting of earth’s crust

The meteorite, estimated to be larger than Table Mountain.

Event: 2,023 million years ago the world’s greatest single, known energy release event took place .A gigantic meteorite (asteroid), 10 kilometres in diameter hit the earth 100km south west of Johannesburg. The meteorite, estimated to be larger than Table Mountain, caused a blast of over a thousand-megaton. Approximately 70 cubic kilometers of rock would have been instantly vaporized.
Result: A massive impact crater, with a radius of over 190km, the world’s largest and most deeply eroded impact crater.

Now known as the Vredefort Dome. An Earthquake of a far greater magnitude than that seen today, would have shaken the planet. The force of this collision was certainly far greater that the impact that was to exterminate dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. The force of impact produced deep fractures in the underlying rock with surface melted rock flowing downwards into these cracks. Producing exposed ridges of hard rock – Granophyres dykes.

The earth’s oxygen levels became elevated, leading to the development of multi cellular life.

Gold bearing rocks of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg and surrounding areas) that were deposited 800 million years before the Vredefort impact, were covered with debris from the blast, protecting the reef from erosion until the gold reef discovery of 1886.

Worldwide impact: Causing enormous global transformation, including major evolutionary changes. Dust ejected from the crater was carried around the world.

The earth’s oxygen levels became elevated, leading to the development of multi cellular life.

The Vredefort Dome Scar

The Vredefort dome original impact scar measured an estimated 380km across with three concentric circles of displaced rock, created by rebounding rock below the impact site. The inner concentric circle, measuring 180km, is clearly visible today. Today: The Vredefort Dome is the biggest and oldest meteorite impact site in the world. The site has provided significant evidence to the earth’s geological history and has lead to a greater understanding of our evolution.

World Heritage Site

South Africa’s seventh World Heritage Site and third natural Heritage Site. Vredefort is the only meteorite site to provide a full geological profile below the crater floor. View: A partial, arcing ring of hills can be seen from the air, created by the rebounding of rock below the impact site on impact by the meteorite. The area contains a balanced ecosystem of open plains, bushveld, mountains and ravines.

An area of great scenic beauty with an abundance of flora and fauna with over 100 plant species and is an important birding area, over 450 species.

Items covered by Ekala Eco Tours on our Vredefort Dome and Tswaing Meteorite Crater Tours

Our tours are Private (not mixed groups) – as such each Vredefort Dome and Tswaing Meteorite Crater tour can be uniquely designed for an individual experience.

Ekala Eco Tours offer tours that would include both Vredefort Dome and Tswaing Meteorite Crater.

To be able to structure a tour around your requirements and time available – we need to be supplied with clear timing and collection and drop off address – hotel name. If one of the points is the airport – I need full flight details. Once I have these it will be possible to quote/advise and structure a day or multi day package around your requirements/timing.

Tswaing Meteorite Crater Pretoria/Tshwane

2 separate events with some 2 billion years between them – Vredefort Meteorite impact dome and the Tswaing Meteorite impact crater.

Significantly younger than the Vredefort dome, the Tswaing Meteorite Crater was formed 220 000 years ago. One of the worlds youngest and best preserved, bowl shaped meteorite craters. The crater, 100 meters deep and 1.3 km wide is situated 40 km north west of Pretoria/Tshwane.

Tswaing crater one of the best preserved meteorite craters in the world.

Some 220 000 years ago a meteorite the size of half a soccer field collided into the earth`s crust. The impact formed a 1, 4 km in diameter and 200 m deep crater. The site is covered in dense bushveld, with a small 100 meter diameter lake in the centre of the crater. The lake once contained high concentrations of salt and soda ash and has been used over thousands of years by people in search of salt. These were mined until 1956. Remnants of the mine are still visible today.

Tswaing, meaning place of salt in Tswana, was for many years believed to be a volcanic crater. The locals and Sangomas believed in a magical realm in the near perfectly circular crater.

Evidence through core samples taken from the centre of the crater, were to later confirm the Tswaing crater was indeed a meteorite crater, formed by a hypervelocity impact of a large meteorite.

Tswaing Meteorite impact crater – can be included as part of a full day tour Pretoria tour.

Please contact Ekala Eco Tours – info@ekalatours.com – for tour details.

Vredefort Dome generaly requires over half a day – thus to include additional items can be tight – however to include part of our Johannesburg gold history does work well.

BOTH OPTIONS CAN BE STRUCTURED WITHIN A MULTI DAY PACKAGE TO INCLUDE:

 

 

Private collection and drop off – Professional – fully guided tours – 7 days a week.

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