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Free State meteorite South Africa's Seventh World Heritage Site

The Vredefort Dome, a massive meteorite that slammed into the middle of South Africa 2 billion years ago, is now officially world heritage.

This rock, bigger and heavier than Mount Everest, flew through space faster than a fighter jet and slammed into the ground. Its impact buckled, twisted and melted the ground to form a crater almost 380km wide in the northern corner of the Free State.

Time has not been kind to our famous old rock now known as the Vredefort Dome. Most of it has been eroded away with the passing of millions and millions of years - although part of its inner circle is still clearly visible in the scenic range of hills near the towns of Parys and Vredefort.

The Vredefort Dome joins nearly 800 other noteworthy sites such as the Grand Canyon, the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China and is South Africa's seventh world heritage site.

(source: Mercury / Tony Carnie / 15 July 2005)

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