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Tswaing crater

Tswaing crater

Soshanguve, 0872, South Africa

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Description Tswaing is an impact crater in South Africa that is accompanied by a museum. It is situated 40 km to the north-west of Pretoria. 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). 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. Morokweng crater, another crater of chondrite origin, lies north-west of Vryburg.EtymologyThe name Tswaing means Place of Salt in Tswana and the crater was also formerly known in as Pretoria Saltpan crater and in as Soutpankrater.HistoryStone 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 and 1800. 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.

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