VREDEFORT DOME INFO
General Information on the Vredefort Dome & Surrounds
The Vredefort impact crater was created 2023 million years ago when a meteorite 10-15 Km in diameter collided with earth at a speed of about 40 000km per hour.
The Vredefort Dome, as it is known worldwide, is the centre, 90km across, of the impact crater and is situated 120 km south-west of Johannesburg, embracing the towns of Vredefort and Parys. The total crater is 300Km in diameter.
Unique geology, such as pseudotachylite and granophyre melt rock and shatter cones, archaeology, biodiversity, history and culture are the ingredients of a fascinating tourist experience.
Before modern times the Vedefort area was rich in wild animals. Hunter-Gatherers roamed the area and left their art in the form of rock engravings of the animals they hunted on ancient rock formations.
Around the 1840’s Europeans settled in the area as livestock farmers and hunters and the area was called Riemland (Thong Country). A dispute between the old Transvaal and the Free State was resolved on a farm owned by Jacobus Scheepers and the farm was renamed to Vredefort, meaning Fort of Peace.
In 1876 the town of Vredefort was formally established on this farm with erven sold on 20 April of that year and the town became an agricultural and religious centre.
The Vredefort Dome, approximately 120km south-west of Johannesburg is a representative part of a large meteorite impact structure (astrobleme). Dating back 2 023 million years, it is the oldest astrobleme found on Earth so far.
Due to the fact that the town Vredefort is close to the geometric centre of the impact structure, researchers started to speak of it as the Vredefort Dome and today the name is known and used world wide.
The Vredefort Meteorite Impact Structure bears witness to the world’s greatest known single energy release event. It provides evidence of the Earths geological history. It contains high quality and accessible geological sites which demonstrate a range of geological indicators of a complex meteorite impact structure.
Vrederfort Dome is the only example to provide a full geological profile of an astrobleme below a crater floor.