Vredefort Crater

Vredefort Crater is the largest verified impact crater on the Earth. This crater was formed when an asteroid struck Earth about two billion years ago. It is located in Free State Province of South Africa.

It has a diameter of around 250 to 300 kilometers. Initially it was thought to be formed by a volcanic explosion but later some evidences showed that it is the site of a huge bolide impact.

This crater is one of the few multi-ringed impact craters. Its center is marked by a core of basement granite which is surrounded by inclined rock unit forming a structural dome.


Quick Facts: –

  • The asteroid which struck the earth to form the Vredefort Crater was only 10 kilometers in width but had a velocity high enough to produce such a massive crater.
  • This crater was designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2005 as a natural site of geological interest.
  • Its age is estimated to be 2.023 billion years that categorizes it as one from the Palaeoproterozoic era.
  • When it was formed there were no people or even animals or plants like we see today except for a type of algae.
  • The south-eastern portion of the structural dome is covered by sediments of the Karoo Super group.
  • The Vredefort dome in the center of the crater is home to three towns: Parys, Vredefort and Koppies.
  • This crater is the oldest and largest known meteorite impact structure on our entire planet.
  • Originally it was much bigger but it has changed now because of various geological activities on the earth’s surface.