Vredefort Dome Crater
World Heritage Sites in South Africa

© David Fleminger

Two Billion Years Ago

Around two billion years ago, a meteorite about the size of Table Mountain hit the earth near to where the town of Vredefort stands today, in the northern Free State. The resulting 1 000-Mt blast vaporised some 70 km³ of rock, leaving a crater about 380 km in diameter This. however, has now all but eroded away, leaving a dome of granitic rock that was created by the rebound of the earth's crust. This concentric ring of hills. between Vredefort and Parys, constitutes the World Heritage Site.

Deep Impact of the Vredefort Dome

After the Transvaal Supergroup came the Bushveld Complex, formed when a huge amount of molten rock was pushed from the Mantle into the upper reaches of the Transvaal Supergroup....more

Modern Times in the Vredefort Dome

In the two billion years since the traumatic Vredefort impact, the environment had slowly recovered and all was now well in the Dome. New rocks continued to form, covering the crater structure...more

UNESCO and the Vredefort Dome

The Vredefort Dome is the earliest and largest impact structure found on the Earth thus far. Furthermore, the impact literally turned the Earth inside out and pushed up ancient ‘basement’ rock...more

Visiting the Vredefort Dome

The complete Vredefort Dome structure extends over a circular area with a diameter of 300km. It stretches from above Johannesburg in the north east to Welkom in the south west....more