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Vredefort Dome

The oldest and biggest scar on the surface of Earth is often called the cradle of all life


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A huge astrobleme located between Johannesburg and Welkom is a truly special site. The width of the impact crater is 300 km, and it is twice as big as the other notorious impact structure that is believed to have killed dinosaurs 65 million years ago. To create such a dome, the size of the burning rock body must have been some 10 km across, racing at the speed of over 10 km per second.

That asteroid fell over 2 billion years ago when there were no living organism found on Earth, neither animals nor plants, the only possible inhabitant could be green slime found on the bottom of water basins. Scientists made a sensational assumption that this asteroid could have launched mutations that led to the beginning of life on our planet. Who knows, maybe indeed that impact was crucial for the creation of humanity. However, if anything similar happens in modern times, scientists fearfully anticipate the opposite effects—a similar asteroid would have erased everything on Earth.

Naturally, the area has been studied, explored and investigated by scientists for years, and since 2005 the site has been protected as a part of UNESCO World Heritage.

Curious tourists are also allowed to explore the mysterious dome—you can do it on foot, or watch it from above on the air balloon or during skydiving. Vredeford dome is a year-round destination, but May to July, that is African winter, is recommended as the most convenient season for hiking because of moderate air temperature.

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