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Meteorite Impact!: The Danger from Space and South Africa's Mega-Impact The Vredefort Structure (Geoparks of the World) [Paperback]

Wolf Uwe Reimold , Roger L. Gibson

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23 Jun 2010 3642104630 978-3642104633 3rd ed. 2010
PART I CHAPTER 1 T E — , , . . . . . . . . . 15 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Geological change — the answers within, and without. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Man on the Moon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Back to the beginning — from the Big Bang to early Earth. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Impact — the ubiquitous process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 The oldest rocks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Time to cool — birth of the Kaapvaal continent. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Old crust in the Vredefort Dome. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Rifting, oceans, volcanism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Mountains, fire and ice. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 The unique Bushveld magmatic event. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 CHAPTER 2 C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Extinction or survival — our restless Earth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Meteorite-impact catastrophes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Normal (background) versus mass extinctions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 A brief look at the impact record in the Solar System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 What are the projectiles capable of causing an impact catastrophe?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87 What is an impact crater? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 How can we identify impact structures? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 92 Shock metamorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97 CHAPTER 3 T A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 Tswaing meteorite crater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 Does Tswaing have a twin? (Kalkkop Crater, Eastern Cape Province) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108 South Africa’ s other Giant Impact Morokweng impact structure, — North West Province . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 Our southern African neighbours . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111 Testimony of earliest impact catastrophe — Barberton and the Northern Cape Province . . 113 Traces of catastrophe in the Karoo?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 6 CHAPTER 4 V : T W . . . 117 The Vredefort Structure revealed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118 Getting to know the giant: By road through the Vredefort Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120 Traversing the outer parts of the Vredefort Dome (Fochville to Parys) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 5 The geology of the Vredefort Dome. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Review

From the reviews of the third edition:

“Third edition of Meteorite Impact! … by Reimold (Museum for Natural History, Humboldt Univ., Germany) and Gibson (Univ. of the Witwatersrand, South Africa) is two things. First, it is an interesting, comprehensive field guide to an exceptional geologic site that warrants further exploration and interest. Second, it is a primer on Earth hazards with the typical popular-level approach. … content gives the reader an easily understandable and personable on-site perspective to this complex area. … Summing Up: Recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates and general readers.” (L. R. Johnston, Choice, Vol. 48 (9), May, 2011)

From the Back Cover

When geologists first wandered the spectacular ring of hills straddling the Vaal River north of Vredefort nearly 150 years ago, they immediately recognised that the unusually shattered and uptilted rocks bore witness to an exceptionally violent event in the distant past. However, it took more than a century of painstaking work before the accumulated evidence revealed the cause — the impact with Earth of a meteorite, the size of a mountain, about 2 020 million years ago. This book presents an opportunity to travel back in time to this remarkable event — arguably the single greatest geological catastrophe yet uncovered on our planet. It presents an easy to read account of the ten minutes that, quite literally, shook the world. Readers are taken both to the farthest reaches of our Solar System and back to its beginnings in a search for the source of meteorites. The book shows how the immense violence of the event and aeons of slow erosion have combined to provide us with a unique window onto the early history of planet Earth and into the deep levels of its interior. It goes on to show how the lessons learned from the rocks around Vredefort are being used throughout the world to teach a new generation of scientists of the reality, and danger, of similar events in the future. Finally, this book reviews more than 200 000 years of human habitation in this area of exceptional natural beauty and biodiversity. This history starts with the early San hunters, whose graceful art survives today on rocks formed during the impact event. The arrivals and settlements of Sotho, Tswana, Afrikaner and British settlers are discussed, including the landmark wars that affected the region over the last three centuries. This book documents the rich geological, archaeological, cultural and botanical heritage presented by the Vredefort region in an easily digestible manner, opening up the information to non- geoscientists. It concludes with a guide to key sites that highlight the heritage of this area, which was proclaimed a World Heritage Site in July 2005.


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