Vredefort Impact Crater – Vredefort, South Africa - Atlas Obscura

Vredefort Impact Crater

Vredefort, South Africa

The world's largest impact crater is mainly eroded but still remembers the planet's violent history. 


The largest impact crater in the history of the Earth has largely flattened with erosion, but the huge bowl remains as a reminder of the planet’s violent past and possible future.

Located around the small village of Vredefort which lies near the center of the impact zone, the remaining ripples and rings of the huge earthen wound are only fully visible from space. The original crater is thought to have been around 190 miles in diameter although the more dramatic slopes have been worn down in the millennia since the meteoric impact. The crater is also one of the only ancient impact sites to feature multiple rings which speaks to the sheer violence of the collision which occurred billions of years in the past. With local development in the area threatening to erase the geologic rarity, the Vredefort Dome within the crater was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2005.




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