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Tswaing Crater
Pretoria Salt Pan, South Africa
Earth's Natural Wonders in Africa
 
  

 The Tswaing Crater (Tswaing meaning "Place of Salt" in the Tswana language) gets 12 000 visitors a year, mostly Gautengers, coming to marvel at this wonder that hit the earth 220 000 years ago with an impact of about 100 atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. [2]

 


Coordinates: 25° 24' 32 S, 28° 4' 58 E
Tswaing Crater [1]

 


Tswaing is an impact crater in South Africa. This astrobleme is 1.13 km in diameter and 100 m deep and the age is estimated to be 220,000 ± 52,000 years (Pleistocene).[2] The impactor is believed to have been a chondrite or stony meteorite some 30 to 50 m in diameter that was vaporized during the impact event.

The name Tswaing means Place of Salt in Tswana and the crater was also formerly known in English: as Pretoria Saltpan crater and in Afrikaans: as Soutpankrater. Stone tools from the Middle Stone Age show that the crater was regularly visited by people from as far back as 100 000 years ago in order to hunt and collect salt. Water in the crater comes from surface springs, ground water and rain water and is rich in dissolved carbonates and sodium chlorides. Tswana and Sotho people harvested the salt by filtering and decoction between 1200 AD and 1800 AD. Between 1912 and 1956 brine was pumped from the floor of the crater by the company SA Alkali Ltd. in order to extract soda and salt.

Tswaing is currently on the tentative list for consideration as a World Heritage Site. [3]

 

 

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References
 
1. Wikimedia Commons-Tswaing Crater-Creative Commons Attribution License-retrieved 9/26/2009
2. Tswaing Crater-retrieved 9/26/2009
3. Wikipedia-Tswaing Crater-retrieved 9/26/2009
4.
 
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