Kaapvaal Craton - ancient foundation
 Kaapvaal Craton

 The foundations of KwaZulu-Natal comprise two distinct geological units, the Kaapvaal Craton and the Natal Metamorphic Province. These form separate continental blocks that have influenced the geological history, scenery and economic potential of the region. North of the great Tugela River lies the most ancient crustal block in southern Africa, the Archaean Kaapvaal Craton (3000 million years old). The Kaapvaal craton is one of the very few remaining areas of pristine crust on Earth.

It was formed when when the Earth's basaltic crust was intruded by granite. The basalts are 3500 million years old and are preserved as greenstone fragments within the granit.


Granite can be seen in the valley between Melmoth and Vryheid, and at quarries inland of Richards Bay. Basalt of the Nondweni Greenstone Belt south of Vryheid, preserves ancient 'pillow structures'. These are identical to the structures seen today where basalt lava erupts into the sea.

 Pillow lava

Pillow Lava, White Umfolozi River

(Photo: N. Hicks)


 Geology of KZN: Cross section South - North

Geological cross section of KwaZulu-Natal (North-South)

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