Vredefort crater World Heritage Site

Largest verified impact crater on earth, dating from the Paleoproterozoic Era

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Vredefort Crater
Vredefort Dome (centre)
Vredefort Dome STS51I-33-56AA.jpg
Vredefort Dome, seen from space by STS-51-I
Impact crater/structure
ConfidenceConfirmed
Diameter300 km (190 mi)
Age2,023 ± 4 Ma
Paleoproterozoic
ExposedYes
DrilledYes
Location
Coordinates27°0′0″S 27°30′0″E / 27.00000°S 27.50000°E / -27.00000; 27.50000Coordinates: 27°0′0″S 27°30′0″E / 27.00000°S 27.50000°E / -27.00000; 27.50000
CountrySouth Africa
ProvinceFree State
Vredefort crater is located in South Africa
Vredefort crater
Location of Vredefort crater
Official nameVredefort Dome
Includes
  1. Vredefort Dome core area
  2. The stromatolite/basal fault plane site
  3. The chocolate tablet breccia site
  4. The pseudotachylite (quarry) site
CriteriaNatural: (viii)
Reference1162
Inscription2005 (29th session)
Area30,000 ha (120 sq mi)

The Vredefort crater /ˈvrɛdəfɜːrt/ is the largest verified impact crater on Earth. More than 300 kilometres (190 mi) across when it was formed,[1][2] what remains of it is in the present-day Free State province of South Africa. It is named after the town of Vredefort, which is near its centre. Although the crater itself has long since been eroded away, the remaining geological structures at its centre are known as the Vredefort Dome or Vredefort impact structure. The crater is calculated to be 2.023 billion years old (± 4 million years), with impact being in the Paleoproterozoic Era. It is the third-oldest known crater on Earth.

In 2005, the Vredefort Dome was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites for its geologic interest.


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