The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Vredefort Dome - South Africa

Map showing the location of Vredefort Dome world heritage site in South Africa

Website Category:  Earth’s Crust

Area: 301 km2 (serial site with four component areas).
Inscribed: 2005

Criteria: (viii) Earth's history

Values:The Vredefort Dome world heritage site encompasses the central part of the oldest and largest meteorite impact site known on earth.  The entire meteorite impact structure (or astrobleme) has a radius of impact of 190 km, while the section designated as a world heritage site features an eroded ‘crater rim' of low hills with upturned quartzite rock strata and other features of the impact. It is one of about 200 meteorite impact structures currently known on Earth, of which only three have a diameter greater than 150 km. It is the only world heritage site in Africa that is primarily under private ownership, encompassing 149 farm properties.

 

Slideshow of the Vredefort Dome world heritage site.  

    

Impressions (based on a visit in September 2005)Appreciation of the significance of this site, and understanding of its geological features, requires explanation and interpretation. Anybody passing through the area could be forgiven for failing to appreciate that this is anything more than a pleasant farming community in an attractive rural setting where the Vaal River passes through an area of rolling hills. A few community members are taking initiatives to raise awareness, but these are early days in the development of the site, and much remains to be done. A major effort to provide world class interpretation at the site would be a significant contribution: otherwise it will remain somewhat obscure, and offer little to attract international visitors.

 

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Links to other places in the Earth’s Crust category:  Wadi Al-Hitan  I  Mosi-oa-tunya Victoria Falls  I  Land of the Dogons 

Links: Google Earth | UNEP-WCMC Site Description | Official UNESCO Site Details | OurPlace Photos

Present-day pastoral scene at the world’s largest and oldest meteorite impact event at Vredefort Dome world heritage site, South Africa Grass fire at dusk - hinting at a violent past at the world’s largest and oldest meteorite impact event at Vredefort Dome world heritage site, South Africa Was this massive rock responsible for the world’s largest and oldest meteorite impact event at Vredefort Dome world heritage site, South Africa? Upturned rock strata resulting from the world’s largest and oldest meteorite impact event at Vredefort Dome world heritage site, South Africa

 

 

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