Geological Research and Analysis of Vredefort Impact with Timely Anthropological Studies


GRAVITAS is an international multidisciplinary collaboration aimed to develop scienti­fic research, education, and public communication of planetary science from South Africa.
GRAVITAS aims to better understand impact melt dykes of the Vredefort Impact Structure, South Africa. The Vredefort Impact Structure is one of the largest and oldest meteorite craters on Earth, and learning about impact processes allows us to better constrain how our planet and life developed.
The impact melt dykes were created through melting of the meteorite and the Earth’s impacted crust, which injected into cracks in the crater floor. The impact melt allows us to understand large-scale impact processes, composition of the meteorite, age of the impact, and long term post-impact processes in the crust.
Impact melt rocks are exposed at surface as long semi-continuous lines of boulders. These rocks were used by African ­first-people as cultural gathering sites and preserve rock art. Studying these sites will expand the body of anthropological knowledge of ­first peoples.

Conference Proceedings

  • Kovaleva E., Huber M.S., Clark M., Fourie F., 2019. Timing of emplacement of Vredefort granophyre dykes. Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution VI, LPI Contrib. No. 2136, 5080. Link:

  • Kovaleva E., Zamyatin D., Leroux H., 2019. Twisted kink bands: New shock deformation microstructure in zircon from the Vredefort impact structure. Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution VI, LPI Contrib. No. 2136, 5056.

Peer-reviewed papers

  • Huber, M.S., Kovaleva, E., 2020. Identifying Gaps in the Investigation of the Vredefort Granophyre Dikes: A Systematic Literature Review. Geosciences, 10(8), 306. 

  • Kovaleva E., 2020. Textural Identification of Polycrystalline Magmatic, Tectonically-Deformed, and Shock-Related Zircon Aggregates. Minerals, 10(5), 469.

  • Huber M.S., Kovaleva E., Prevec S., Clark M., accepted to the Geological Society of America Special Paper. Inhomogeneous distribution of lithic clasts within the Daskop Granophyre Dyke, Vredefort Impact Structure: Implications for emplacement of impact melt in large impact structures.

  • Huber M., Kovaleva E., Riller U., accepted to Meteoritics & Planetary Science. Geochemical modeling of the evolution of impact melt in terrestrial impact basins: Vredefort granophyre dikes and Sudbury Offset Dikes

  • Kovaleva E., Zamyatin D., Habler G., 2019. Granular zircon from Vredefort granophyre (South Africa) confirms the deep injection model for impact melt in large impact structures. Geology, 47, 691-694, DOI:

  • Fourie F., Huber M.S., Kovaleva E., 2019. Geophysical characterisation of the Daskop Granophyre Dyke and surrounding host rocks, Vredefort impact structure, South Africa. Meteoritics & Planetary Science, 54, 1579-1593, DOI:

Primary Collaborators

Extended Collaborators

Gravitas Descriptor  Contact

Vredefort Topology Map

Vredefort Topography Map


The Rainsnake


Field trips

  • January 8-11, 2020. Geological Sampling, Geophysics, New Site Visits

  • August 6-9, 2019. Aerial Photography, Geophysics

  • June 19-22, 2019. Aerial Photography, Geophysics, Geological Mapping

Conferences and workshops

  • Huber M.S., Kovaleva E., Clark M. and Fourie F., 2020. Evaluating the emplacement mechanisms of Vredefort impact melt dikes. The 11th Planetary Crater Consortium 2020, LPI Contrib. No. 2251, 2016.

  • Elizaveta Kovaleva has participated in the Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution (LMI VI) conference in Brasilia, Brazil from September 30th to October 3rd 2019. She presented a poster “Timing of emplacement of the Vredefort granophyre dykes”, and a talk and a poster titled: “TWISTED KINK BANDS: A new shock deformation microstructure in zircon, Vredefort impact structure”.


  • Kovaleva, E. Shocked and Recrystallized Zircon: a Recorder of the Meteorite Strike.” Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) Lunchtime talk, August 5th 2020. Recording:

  • Huber, M.S. The economic significance of the Vredefort impact event.  Geological Society of South Africa (GSSA) Lunchtime talk, July 10th 2020. Recording:



by Elmada Kemp | 14 Oct, 2019

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