220 000 years ago, a remnant from our primordial solar system had a rendezvous with terra firma. While our atmosphere does a great job of protecting us from small menacing stones pelting down on us every now and again, it was hard-pressed to bleed off a 50m space rock's destructive energy. There is no remnant of the original impactor – it was completely destroyed during impact.
I was fortunate to have been invited to go along on a tour organized by Trevor Gould of the Johannesburg Centre of ASSA, one weekend in early September, 2005. Our goal: A reconnaissance of ground zero. A greater contrast it could not have been, from the scene of destruction that must have been evident just after impact. Today, the site is tranquil and serene. Approaching the impact site from the south on foot, there is nothing but a small hillock which juts out to add relief to the otherwise flat Transvaal Supergroup plane. A gentle hike up a pseudo-contour soon presents itself with the telltale sign of human activity. Ruins. Or more precisely – remnants of a foundation. From the foundation, the concept of a solitary hill is immediately transformed, and you realize you're standing at the threshold of a larger structure – on the rim of an impact crater! The opposite rim wall, an impressive 100m high, is reflected in a pool of water below.