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SHRIMP (sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe) U-Pb zircon dating of the Archean basement rocks in the core of the Vredefort dome, South Africa, is integrated with results of lithological and structural mapping and geochemical data to assess the tectonic evolution of the central parts of the Kaapvaal Craton. Recent tectonic models have envisaged the rocks in the core of the dome as part of a much larger, >3200 Ma, Archean cratonic shield (Kaapvaal Shield) that attained stability during partial melting of its early crust and emplacement of voluminous, Mesoarchean, crustally derived granitoid bodies between 3200 and 3100 Ma. Our studies have...

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