Approximately 4 million years ago, in the Paleoproterozoic Era, a meteor hit the Earth. It landed in the Free State province of South Africa and it was named after the town of Vredefort.
The crater itself has long since has been worn away, but the remaining geological structures at its centre are known as the Vredefort Dome.
The crater is the second-oldest known crater on Earth. In 2005, the dome was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites simply for its geologic interest.
The original crater was estimated to have been roughly 300 km in diameter and is thought to have been formed by a volcanic explosion, but in the mid-1990's evidence revealed that it was the site of a huge bolide impact. We learned this, as telltale shatter cones were discovered in the bed of the Vaal River.
The crater site is one of few multiple-ringed impact craters on Earth, although they are common everywhere else in the solar system - the best known example of this is the Valhalla crater on Jupiter's moon Callisto. Our moon has them too. The geological processes destroyed most multiple-ring craters on Earth.
The Vredefort Crater is only one of the many areas of geological interest, making South Africa a great destination. So let us include it in your tailor-made travel plans to our beautiful country.
More & More Africa, dream bigger, discover more!