A final event that had a major impact on the geology of the Witwatersrand Basin and its exposure in the Johannesburg region, was a massive meteor impact 110 km to the south-west of Johannesburg 2020 million years ago. (1982). It is more commonly known as Wits University or Wits (/vəts/ or /vɪts/). (1999). The Natural Sapphire Company Reviews on, The Witwatersrand Gold Rush initiated South Africa’s domination of world gold production. There was no free oxygen in earth's atmosphere until about 2000 million years ago, but there were photosynthesizing cyanobacteria. Acid mine drainage, as the phenomenon is called, has become a major ecological problem, because it dissolves many of the heavy elements, such as the uranium, cadmium, lead, zinc, copper, arsenic and mercury found in the mine dumps, facilitating their passage into surface water and ground water. It houses five faculties which comprise 34 schools. "Engineering Geology of Southern Africa". It has since been established that the rocks that make up the Witwatersrand Ridge dip downwards and southwards to form the largely underground “Witwatersrand Basin” which covers an elliptical area with a 300 km long major axis from Evander in the north-east to Theunissen in the south-west, and 150 km wide stretching from Steynsrus in the south-east to Coligny in the north-west,[1] with a small subsidiary basin at Kinross. MessageToEagle.com – About 80 years ago, three green diamonds, were extracted from the 3 billion-year-old Witwatersrand Supergroup, an ancient rock formation that is host to the famous Johannesburg gold mines in South Africa. The continued mining of gold has firmly placed Johannesburg as the economical powerhouse of South Africa. The Boer farmers denied these “uitlanders” voting rights and mounted heavy taxes on the gold industry. [6] The entire series of rocks, known as the "Witwatersrand Supergroup," consists of very hard erosion resistant quartzites, banded ironstones and some marine lava deposits, interspersed with softer, more easily eroded tillites, mudstones and conglomerates. To learn even more about topics related to precious metals, head over to More Precious Metal Details. [17] The park is on the busy Main Reef Road, immediately west of Nasrec Road. The Witwatersrand (locally the Rand or, less commonly, the Reef) is a 56-kilometre-long (35 mi), north-facing scarp in South Africa. It is clear that for the next 200 million years the flood plain was repeatedly inundated, sometimes eroded, and sediments re-deposited. Evidence from tungsten isotope studies indicates that most gold in the crust is derived from gold in the mantle which resulted from a meteorite bombardment some 3900 million years ago (i.e. The “West Rand Group” and “Central Rand Group” of rocks together form the “Witwatersrand Supergroup”, the full horizontal extent of which is termed the Witwatersrand Basin.[2][6][1]. [6][15][16] Sulfuric acid also erodes concrete and cement structures, resulting in structural damage to buildings and bridges.[15][16]. The Witwatersrand Gold Rush initiated South Africa’s domination of world gold production. [2] From there on they are almost everywhere, with very few exceptions (see below), covered by younger rocks. University of the Witwatersrand Application Form. It was the coalescence of several of these island arcs that led to the formation of the Kaapvaal Craton, one of the first microcontinents to form on earth about 3900 million years ago. All of our sapphires are cut on our premises and are available loose or mounted in a custom setting. The Mesoarchaean Witwatersrand Basin represents the largest known gold anomaly and has produced more gold than any other ore province in the world. Our natural untreated sapphires offer true beauty, rarity and superior value compared to treated sapphires. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London. Founded in 1896 as the South African School of Mines in Kimberley, it is the third oldest South African university in continuous operation. Building Publications, Pretoria. David Lewis-Williams, Professor emeritus of Cognitive Archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand; specialist in Upper-Palaeolithic and Bushmen rock art; founder of the Rock Art Research Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand The University of the Witwatersrand Undergraduate Application Form 2022/2023 and postgraduate Admission Application Form 2022/2023 has been released online. The plateau's elevation above sea-level is between 1700 and 1800 metres (5600–5900 ft). The area is famous for being the source of 40% of the gold ever mined from the earth. Once the news got out, prospectors from all over the world flocked to the area, laying the foundation of the present day metropolis of Johannesburg. [13] Stanley, S.M. [1] Harrison had stumbled on the Main Reef conglomerate (part of the “Johannesburg Subgroup” of rocks — see illustration above). 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Company Reviews on TrustPilot. The scarp forms the northern edge of a 7-to-10-kilometre-wide (4–6 mi) plateau (or ridge) which rises about 200 m (660 ft) above the surrounding plains of the Highveld. [2], Ridge of erosion resistant rock in South Africa, Consequences of mining the ancient Witwatersrand rocks. New York, NY 10017, Mining & Sourcing Earth System History. The gold was in its free elemental form. The war continued for years through, is part of the “golden arc,” an ancient inland lake containing rich deposits of, (60 miles) long and 3.6 kilometers (12,000 feet) deep in certain places. Demuvawatha, Ratnapura pp. We invite you to view our full selection of sapphires, blue sapphire rings and custom sapphire jewelry and discover what makes the Natural Sapphire Company the world's greatest collection of natural sapphires. Council for Geoscience, Geological Survey of South Africa. Kirk, Jason; Joakin Ruiz; John Chesley and Spencer Titley; Brink, A.B.A. 297–301. It is a range of hills in the Gauteng province South Africa that contains most of the worlds gold reserves. The “Central Rand Group” of deposits was brought to an abrupt end by massive outpourings of lava, which form the Ventersdorp lavas which erupted 2715 million years ago. 81–160. ... in what is now known … Not all the conglomerates contain gold, and of those that do (known as “reefs” by the miners), the gold is not uniformly distributed throughout the layer, but tends to occur in streaks, where the pebbles that make up the conglomerate are larger than elsewhere. The 200-by-350-km (124-by-217-mile) Witwatersrand Basin contains an 11-km- (7-mile-) thick sequence of lavas and sediments that are 3 billion years old. How Do You Best Establish the Value of a Sapphire? Because of the extraordinary quantities of gold that have been extracted from the Witwatersrand rocks, the South African currency was named the rand in 1961 upon the declaration of the republic. This massive goldfield is 100 kilometers (60 miles) long and 3.6 kilometers (12,000 feet) deep in certain places. The University of the Witwatersrand colloquially known as Wits University is internationally recognized for its excellent research, high academic standards, and its commitment to social justice in Africa and beyond. 6 East 45th St, 20th Floor The war continued for years through guerrilla warfare until heightened British actions put them at bay. The conglomerate was quickly traced east and westward for a total continuous distance of 50 km (31 mi) to define what became known as the “Central Rand Gold Field”. A view of the farm Langlaagte where gold was discovered in 1886. The abundance of this gold is without a natural equal anywhere else in the world. where these rocks are exposed at the surface) in the immediate vicinity of the Vredefort Dome, virtually all the other outcrops occur in an arc approximately 80–120 km from the centre of the impact crater, to the west, north-west, north and north-east. p. 81-83. [2][6][12] The kerogen, or bitumen, that is found in association with the gold deposits almost certainly represents what remains of these Archean photosynthesizing micro-organisms.[6]. Harrison declared his claim with the then-government of the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek (ZAR), and in September 1886 President Paul Kruger issued a proclamation declaring nine farms public mining diggings, starting on 20 September 1886. The Witwatersrand Rifles Regiment was a mechanised infantry regiment of the South African Army.As a reserve unit, it had a status roughly equivalent to that of a British Army Reserve or United States Army National Guard unit. [1][2] However, when it was found that, traced downdip, the conglomerate was not merely developed for the narrow width of a river, but continued in depth, there came the realisation that this conglomeratic zone was part of a sedimentary succession. List of famous alumni from University of the Witwatersrand, with photos when available. Sun: 10:00am - 6:00pm ET. As with the California Gold Rush, the Witwatersrand Gold Rush had extensive social and political implications. This protected it from erosion later on; but, possibly more importantly, bringing it to the surface close to the crater rim, near Johannesburg. Sri Lanka, Hours Available The University of the Witwatersrand (also known as WITS) comes with different categories of Application Forms 2021 for prospective students. Afrikaner commandos during the Second Boer War (1899–1902). Tambo International Airport) in the east, through Johannesburg and Roodepoort, to Krugersdorp in the west (see the diagram at left below).[2]. In this context, it lent its name to institutions including the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits University) and the defunct Rand Afrikaans University (RAU, now part of the University of Johannesburg). At the Natural Sapphire Company we specialize in providing our customers with the finest quality natural sapphires. Harrison's original Zoekers' (in English: seekers', or prospectors') Claim No 19 was declared a national monument in 1944, and named Harrison's Park. It was on the southern portion of this ridge that gold was first discovered on the farm Langlaagte in 1886, 5 km west of Johannesburg. [7] Gold mining in these buried portions of the Witwatersrand Supergroup is sometimes carried out at depths of 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) below the surface.[6][8]. While the ultimate source of the gold in the Witwatersrand reef is unknown, the general disposition of the deposits is recognizable and continuous. It is the source of over 40% of the gold extracted from the Earth. [2][1] The gold bearing meteorite events occurred millions of years after the segregation of the earth's core. The outcrop in Gauteng forms the Witwatersrand ridge, from which the basin and its rocks derive their name. When George Harrison, probably accompanied by George Walker, found gold on the farm Langlaagte, 5 km (3 mi) west of what would become the city of Johannesburg, in an outcrop of conglomerate rocks, in February 1886, they assumed that this was alluvial gold in an old riverbed, that had been tilted as a result of earth movements. The rivers formed braided deltas with many interlacing, slow flowing channels where all the heavy materials brought down from the mountains were deposited: large pebbles, and heavy minerals, such as gold, iron pyrite, and uraninite. The result was a 2500 m thick layer of rock that is termed the “Central Rand Group”, which together with the “West Rand Group”, forms the “Witwatersrand Supergroup”. Thousands of exquisite, natural, untreated sapphires to choose from, matched perfectly with our beautiful, custom designed, hand crafted settings. Here the gold is associated with other minerals, especially iron pyrite and uraninite, as well as carbon rich materials such as kerogen, or bitumen, which occurs in small balls less than 1 mm (0.04 in) in size, called “flyspeck carbon”, or as continuous layers about 10–20 mm (0.4–0.8 in) thick. Like the diamond discoveries before, the gold rush caused thousands of foreign expatriates to prospect and mine the region. [2][1] Since this gold was embedded in a conglomerate, it was first assumed that this was alluvial gold in an old riverbed, that had been tilted as a result of earth movements. Although legends of a South African. conurbation that developed along the range, removal of a several kilometres thick layer of deposits from the surface of the Southern African Plateau, "Three Historic Johannesburg Passes | The Heritage Portal", http://www.goldsheetlinks.com/production.htm, Behind gold's glitter, torn lands and pointed questions, "Outcrop of Main Reef Group of Conglomerates Langlaagte Johannesburg-9/2/228/0196", Relationships between the Vredefort structure and the Witwatersrand basin within the tectonic framework of the Kaapvaal craton as interpreted from regional gravity and aeromagnetic data, List of fossiliferous stratigraphic units in South Africa, Tectonic evolution of the Barberton greenstone belt, Department of Mineral Resources (South Africa), Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Archean life in the Barberton Greenstone Belt, Geological Commission of the Cape of Good Hope, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Witwatersrand&oldid=996396357#Witwatersrand_Basin, Short description is different from Wikidata, Use South African English from February 2017, All Wikipedia articles written in South African English, Pages using infobox mountain with multiple parameters, Articles with unsourced statements from July 2020, Articles with unsourced statements from February 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Cammack, Diana (1990) "The Rand at War: the Witwatersrand and the Anglo-Boer war 1899–1902, This page was last edited on 26 December 2020, at 10:04. Gold is found in the conglomerate strata of the younger members of the Supergroup, locally referred to as banket. Gold was discovered in the area known as Witwatersrand, triggering what would become the Witwatersrand Gold Rush of 1886. the past 150 million years, but especially during the last 20 million years. It is the source of over 40% of the gold extracted from the Earth. In 1887 Cecil John Rhodes registered “The Gold Fields of South Africa” in London, South Africa's first mining house, with a capital of £250000. ’’What is Life?’’. Silver, uranium, and iridium are recovered as gold-refining by-products. It is also the reason behind the South African currency gaining the moniker of “Rand” in 1961. Adam Mahomed Habib (born 1965) is a South African professor of political geography, incoming director of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London as of 1 January 2021, and the former Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg, South Africa. In retaliation, the uitlanders and the British mining interests joined forces to overthrow the Boer government. Thank you for trusting us with your sapphire purchase! The result was alternating red and gray layers of mud which, when consolidated, became banded ironstones. He is a recipient of many awards including the American Society of Haematology Global Capacity Building award (2019), the Publons Top 1% Cross-Field Reviewer Award (2019), the Wits Vice-chancellor Academic Citizenship Award (2018) and the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation International Haemophilia Community Award (2018). The oldest rocks (laid down 2.97 billion years ago) form the northern scarp of the Witwatersrand plateau; the youngest (laid down 2.71 billion years ago) are those that form the southern edge of the plateau. [10] The oxygen these microorganisms produced rapidly reacted with, amongst others, any dissolved iron compounds in the water, producing insoluble red iron oxide (rust), which precipitated out during the daylight hours. The meteor impact, however, lowered the Witwatersrand basin inside the crater. The extreme economic significance of this g… The gold bearing rocks are limited to 6 sites where Archean rivers from the north and west formed fan deltas, with many braided channels, before flowing into the “Witwatersrand Sea” to the south, where the earlier sediments that form the older rocks of the Witwatersrand Supergroup had been deposited. Today, the Witwatersrand reef is part of the “golden arc,” an ancient inland lake containing rich deposits of alluvial gold. Good Reading: Why Natural Sapphires? The head frame of the Tau Tona Mine is the lone entrance to over 500 miles of tunnels. [6] The entire series of rocks, known as the “Witwatersrand Supergroup’’ consists of quartzites, banded ironstones, mudstones, tillites, conglomerates and some marine lava deposits. [6], The vast majority of the Earth's gold and other heavy metals are locked up in the earth's core. Sat: 1:00pm - 4:00pm ET The Witwatersrand is a word in Afrikaans which means “The Ridge of white waters”. The university has its roots in the mining industry, as do Johannesburg and the Witwatersrand in general. South Deep was known by the name Western Areas Gold Mine until 2000. But changing geographical conditions resulted in the accumulation of a wide variety of sediments, ranging from mud, to sand, to gravel, and banded ironstones. Freeman and Company, New York. 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