Abstract

A strong magnetic anomaly near the center of the ancient and deeply eroded Vredefort structure is attributed to remanent magnetization caused by a large meteorite impact at ∼2.0 Ga. The rocks underlying the anomaly are Archean gneisses thought to represent mid-crustal depths that were uplifted to the surface during the postulated impact event. Measurements of the remanent magnetization of the basement rocks yielded consistent vectors of declination = 25° , inclination = 56° , k = 18, α = 16 that correspond to the paleomagnetic pole position at time of impact. Petrologic studies indicate that during impact, large volumes of rock were heated enough to cause thermal remagnetization in the ambient field. Thermal effects of all large impacts on cratons may induce a remanent magnetization of sufficient intensity to cause anomalies in the geomagnetic field that are detectable even by satellites.

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