Let us know what is happening in your town or city. Today, some 200 small gold mines still operate in … It would seem that this continued into the time of the dinosaurs, or other hard boned animals, as fossils of such bones have been discovered along the present Florida Ridge. The sub-division of what became the settlement's central district was a typical product of nineteenth century mining camp planning. However, these diggings had also been largely alluvial in nature and, despite the fact that ore deposits on the new reef seemed to be both concentrated and of a long life expectancy, the Government took the view that Johannesburg would be no different from any of the other gold mining villages which had preceded it. The outcrop in Gauteng forms the Witwatersrand ridge, from which the basin and its rocks derive their name. Five years later, in 1895, Johannesburg was known to hold 102,000 people, this number being equally divided between White and Black residents. Contribute. Perhaps the most remarkable goldfield on the planet is found in the Witwatersrand district of South Africa. If for any reason none appear click here for some troubleshooting tips. Could this have been the source of the Iron Pyrite? That the meteor came in at an angle, from the South, is demonstrated by the Witwatersrand ridge being most disturbed and deformed, to the North of impact. Today this can be seen at the Roodepoort Botanical Gardens where a cliff face exposes these layers. The tops of the pipes were transported Northwards with the debris and came to rest along the Wits Ridge, mostly along the Southernmost, North-facing, ridge. Thermal subsidence and associated deposition of the 2.64 to 2.43 Ga Chuniespoort Group led to low-grade burial metamorphism of the Witwatersrand strata, to basin dewatering, oil migration, and partial gold mobilization within the Witwatersrand basin fill. In 1852, the English prospector J.H. Production does not come easy though. Of these about 600 White residents farmed the Witwatersrand region, which was considered to be a fairly well populated area by the standards of that time. Although legends of a South African “El Dorado” existed among the natives of the area, it was not until 1886, when a poor Australian prospector named George Harrison staked the first claim, that the vast riches of the “Rand” were discovered. The first recorded discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand was made by Jan Gerrit Bantjes in June 1884, on the farm Vogelstruisfontein, and was followed soon thereafter, in September, by the Struben brothers who uncovered the Confidence Reef on the farm Wilgespruit, near present-day Roodepoort. These minerals, mixed with quartz rock and other debris, formed layers of iron-rich conglomerate. There may also have been genuine volcanic lava vents, but at this early stage probably not. Along the shoreline, mostly along what would become the Witwatersrand, but stretching away towards Potchefstroom, seemed to be a series of hot springs or geysers. Most particularly it could not boast of a single major waterway in its vicinity. On 14 September 1886, the first large mining company on the Reef, the Witwatersrand Gold Mining Company, was formed with a total nominal capital of £3,063,000. However Randjeslaagte, the site of present-day central Johannesburg, was not declared until 4 October 1886, and its village was only officially named ‘Johannesburg’ for the first time the previous day, 3 October 1886. This piled up along a roughly East-West line to form the Witwatersrand Ridge, about 120 kilometres from impact. Despite this, the vast majority of the Reef's companies were still engaged in surface mining and the only real shafts sunk to date were on the Jubilee and Langlaagte properties. Please do not use these photos without permission from the copyright holder. Towards a people's history Click here for details on how to contribute and here to advertise in our newsletter. Then at a point in time, a huge meteor fell in the present district of Vredefort. Soon, even more gold was discovered in what would become the neighboring state of Victoria. Kimberley mine in 1873, only a few years after the digging for diamonds started Discovery of Gold and Diamonds in South Africa When gold was discovered in the eastern Transvaal (Pilgrim’s Rest, Mac-Mac Waterfalls and Barberton) a similar process took place. With the invention of the electron microscope, minute particles of meteor debris were identified, providing evidence of the massive impact event. Much More than a Mafia: Mavericks, Mentors, and Medical Maestros. Joseph Kirkman's Missing Manuscript - Can the mystery now be put to rest? It has produced some 2 billion ounces over a century of mining and at an average grade of 15 g/t Au with a current head grade of 6-10 g/t Au and they still have estimated reserves of some 1,161 billion ounces (36,000 tonnes). This gigantic occurrence blasted a crater over 100 km wide and tens of km deep. Another find by Pieter Jacob Marais was recorded in 1853 on the Jukskei River, but was subject to similar secrecy. Portion of the Main Reef at George Harrison Park (Gavin Whitfield). It is reported by Professor Roger Gibson of the University of the Witwatersrand as having an impact equalling approximately 400,000 megatons of TNT. The South African War of 1899-1901 saw a temporary downturn in Johannesburg's population, partly due to the exodus of the Uitlander [foreigner] community who fled the Reef, and partly to the departure of Dutch residents on commando duty. Comments will load below. The gold fields of the Witwatersrand Basin in South Africa are, by a landslide, the largest single gold producing district in the world. University of Johannesburg, School of Mining, Library. Capital, mine personnel and technical expertise were available from the Kimberley diamond mines, as well as the gold fields of Australia and North America. On the surface, a huge tidal-wave or Tsunami screamed northwards, taking the tops of the volcanic vents, or pipes, with it. JHF Virtual Tours will put the spotlight on Witwatersrand and its gold’s discovery. These included seasonal variations, which were not unduly severe, as well as the almost total lack of noxious fauna and flora, most specifically insects and bacteria dangerous to man. Even after it was realised that the gold reef ran both deep and wide, and the introduction in May 1890 of the MacArthur-Forrest cyanide process made recovery of gold excavated at deep levels economically feasible, the general consensus of the time was that Johannesburg's life span would not exceed 25 years. A Vision for Chinatown - The Remarkable Mr Walter Pon, New Book - Thomas Muir: 'Lad O'Pairts' - The Life and Work of Sir Thomas Muir (1844-1934), Mathematician and Cape Colonial Educationist, Advertise in The Heritage Portal Newsletter, The Capture of Winston Churchill - The Armoured Train Incident. Thus, initially at any rate, life in the new mining town was one of uncertainty and, for a number of years many of its early buildings retained their prefabricated iron-and-timber character. 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