Structural analysis of the collar of the Vredefort Dome, South Africa - Significance for impact-related deformation and central uplift formation
Meteoritics and Planetary Science
Impact Cratering Research Group, School of Geosciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, P.O. Wits 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa
Landsat TM, aerial photograph image analysis, and field mapping of Witwatersrand supergroup meta-sedimentary strata in the collar of the Vredefort Dome reveals a highly heterogeneous internal structure involving folds, faults, fractures, and melt breccias that are interpreted as the product of shock deformation and central uplift formation during the 2.02 Ga Vredefort impact event. Broadly radially oriented symmetric and asymmetric folds with wavelengths ranging from tens of meters to kilometers and conjugate radial to oblique faults with strike-slip displacements of, typically, tens to hundreds of meters accommodated tangential shortening of the collar of the dome that decreased from ∼17% at a radius from the dome center of 21 km to <5% at a radius of 29 km. Ubiquitous shear fractures containing pseudotachylitic breccia, particularly in the metapelitic units, display local slip senses consistent with either tangential shortening or tangential extension; however, it is uncertain whether they formed at the same time as the larger faults or earlier, during the shock pulse. In addition to shatter cones, quartzite units show two fracture types - a cm-spaced rhomboidal to orthogonal type that may be the product of shock-induced deformation and later joints accomplishing tangential and radial extension. The occurrence of pseudotachylitic breccia within some of these later joints, and the presence of radial and tangential dikes of impact melt rock, confirm the impact timing of these features and are suggestive of late-stage collapse of the central uplift. © The Meteoritical Society, 2005.
deformation; impact structure; structural geology; uplift; Africa; Free State; South Africa; Southern Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; Vredefort Dome