Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV (LMI 2008), August 18-22, 2008
Second Announcement with call for abstracts coming soon!
Please book your airline reservations now as fares will increase in late March!

Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV (LMI 2008)

First Announcement Update — September 2007


Barringer Family Fund,
Council for Geoscience,
   South Africa,
Geological Society of America,
Lunar and Planetary Institute,
National Aeronautics and
   Space Administration,
School of Geosciences,
   University of the
South African Airways

University of the Witwatersrand
   Johannesburg, South Africa

Roger Gibson,
   University of the Witwatersrand

Uwe Reimold,
   Museum für Naturkunde,
   Humboldt University, Berlin


Charles Cockell,
   The Open University
Christian Koeberl,
   University of Vienna
Jo Morgan,
   Imperial College, London
James Mungall,
   University of Toronto
Elisabetta Pierazzo,
   Planetary Science Institute,

Ulrich Riller,
   Museum für Naturkunde,
   Humboldt University, Berlin


  A warm African welcome is extended to you to participate in the Conference on Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution (LMI IV). The conference will be held August 17-21, 2008, at Sunwa River Lodge near Parys in the Vredefort Dome, South Africa. This event will mark the 21st anniversary of the historic Cryptoexplosions and Catastrophes in the Geologic Record Conference held in 1987 in Parys that is widely regarded as the forerunner of the LMI conference series.

The Vredefort Dome needs no introduction to impact scientists, as it has long been recognized as the exhumed central uplift of the oldest and — possibly — largest confirmed impact structure on Earth. It presents a unique and superbly exposed cross section through the deep levels of the central parts of the Vredefort impact structure, as well as a deep window into the superlative Archean and Paleoproterozoic rocks of the Kaapvaal craton. Furthermore, it is an area of striking natural beauty with a rich history of human settlement extending back thousands of years. In July 2005, the northwestern part of the dome, which includes the Sunwa Lodge property, was declared a World Heritage Site. Work is currently underway to strengthen the tourism infrastructure in the World Heritage Site, including the construction of a visitor center highlighting the natural heritage of the area.

Sunwa River Lodge is a four-star hotel situated on the banks of the Vaal River. The Lodge has the largest conference facility in the Vredefort area and can accommodate up to 150 participants. Based on previous LMI meetings, this should be more than adequate. Overflow capacity is available in adjacent hotels if needed. The hotel website provides further details about the hotel facilities and its varied program of activities, including hiking, river rafting, and helicopter flights over the Vredefort mountain land.


Date:  August 17–21, 2008
Location:  South Africa


  The process of impact cratering, its planetary effects, and environmental implications have been the subject of three previous LMI conferences, which were hosted, respectively, in Sudbury (1992 and 1997) and in Nördlingen (2003). Since LMI III, several major international drilling and field projects of terrestrial impact structures, and new space programs to our neighboring planets, asteroids, and comets, have begun to deliver important new insights into cratering processes within the solar system. LMI IV provides a forum for discussion of these results as well as recent advances based on experimental and numerical simulation studies. A special symposium will be convened concerning the characteristics of the three large impact structures on Earth — Chicxulub, Sudbury, and Vredefort — and will be linked to pre- and post-conference excursions through the Vredefort structure. Special sessions are also expected to cover the recent ICDP drilling projects in the Chicxulub, Bosumtwi, and Chesapeake Bay structures.




  Oral sessions will be held from Monday morning to Thursday noon. A formal poster session will be held on Tuesday afternoon after tea. Posters will be on display for the entire meeting. The sessions are expected to cover a wide range of topics. The following special symposia have already been proposed:
  • Modeling Impact Cratering — Code Improvements and Problems (Convener: Elisabetta Pierazzo)
  • Drilling at Impact Craters — ICDP and Other Projects (Convener: Christian Koeberl)
  • Large Impacts — Vredefort, Sudbury and Chicxulub (Conveners: Ulrich Riller and Uwe Reimold)
If you would like to convene other topical sessions to be advertised in the second announcement, please contact Roger Gibson.




  Depending on interest, two excursions, led respectively by Roger Gibson and Uwe Reimold, will be offered to examine the geology and aspects of the archaeology and history of the Vredefort Dome (maximum 40 participants per trip). Participants in the two-day pre-conference excursion will depart from the Johannesburg hotels (see "Important Notes") on Friday, August 15, and remain in the dome until they are joined by the main conference group on the afternoon of Sunday, August 17. The post-conference excursion will commence on Friday, August 22, and return to Johannesburg on the afternoon of Saturday, August 23.

A one-day pre-conference excursion led by Gillian Drennan and Dion Brandt to the Tswaing Crater north of Pretoria is scheduled on Saturday, August 16 (maximum 40 participants).




  The conference will begin with a welcome function on Sunday evening with local and provincial dignitaries. The provisional social program also includes the Tuesday afternoon poster session, a wine and spirit tasting, and an evening of local cultural entertainment. Tour operators are available to assist with a guest program, if requested.




  Participants and guests may wish to explore other geological features and sites of interest in South Africa. A number of professional tour companies operate half-day and full-day tours to places near Johannesburg such as the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, Lesedi Cultural Village, the Apartheid Museum, Gold Reef City historical village, Cullinan diamond mine, a Witwatersrand gold mine, Pilanesberg Nature Reserve and Sun City, De Wildt Cheetah Reserve, and Soweto.

Several participants have expressed interest in a possible five- to seven-day post-conference tour to Barberton and Kruger Park. For these and other options, refer to tour operator websites such as and Participants will be responsible for their own bookings. However, the conveners will try to facilitate discounted group bookings by liaising with tour companies, if there is sufficient interest.




  Sunwa River Lodge is located less than two hours drive from OR Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International Airport), which is served by most of the world's major airlines. South African Airways has been selected as the preferred conference carrier and is offering participants discounts on international and regional flights, as well as promotional offers within South Africa. Details of the booking code and procedure will be posted on the website and in the second announcement.

Chartered coaches will transport participants from Johannesburg to Sunwa Lodge on the afternoon of Sunday, August 17. The conference will open with a welcome function on Sunday night. The scientific program will run from Monday, August 18, to midday on Thursday, August 21, when coaches will return participants to Johannesburg hotels and OR Tambo International Airport for those departing on international flights.




  Johannesburg and the Vredefort Dome lie at altitudes of 1500–1600 m above sea level. It is recommended that participants plan at least one day's acclimatization for the altitude. Winter on the Highveld in South Africa is typically dry and sunny with average daytime and nighttime temperatures of 20°C (68°F) and 6°C (43°F), respectively, although the daytime maximum might reach 27°C (80°F). Conversely, it would not be unusual for a two- to three-day cold spell to occur during the conference. Temperatures close to freezing are common along the Vaal River at night. Participants are advised to bring some warm clothes to be prepared for all possibilities. Despite the significantly lower risk during winter, participants traveling to Barberton or Kruger Park may wish to consult their doctors about anti-malaria medication. No such medication is necessary for participants in Johannesburg, Parys, or the western parts of the country.




  The organizers have negotiated a package deal with the lodge owners that will include transfer by coach from Johannesburg, accommodations, and all meals and teas. Guests participating in the social program will be required to pay an additional registration fee of U.S. $50.00. Details will be included in the second announcement, along with the call for abstracts. The conference and hotel fees will be charged in South African Rands. The Rand displays some fluctuation against major currencies, so the actual figure is likely to vary, but using an exchange rate of ZAR 7 per U.S. $1.00 and ZAR 10 per euro 1, provisional costs are expected to be approximately:

LMI IV Meeting Registration Fee:
Professional U.S. $110.00 (euro 75)
Students U.S. $80.00
Guests U.S. $50.00
Sunwa River Lodge and Transport to/from Vredefort Dome: four nights full board, per person sharing*: U.S. $445.00 (euro 310)
*Participants who request a single room will be required to pay a single room supplement.

Provisional cost for the Vredefort Dome excursion (either pre- or post-conference; includes two nights' hotel accommodation and board): U.S. $295.00 (euro 210).

Provisional cost for the Tswaing Crater excursion (includes entrance fees): U.S. $85.00 (euro 60).




  A number of travel grants will be available through generous sponsorship from the Barringer Family Fund and other sources. These are intended for students and young postdoctoral researchers, and for participants from developing countries and the former Soviet Union. You must make an oral or poster presentation in order to be eligible.




  Because the proceedings volumes of the previous Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution conferences were published as Special Papers of the Geological Society of America, the conveners are negotiating with the GSA about the possibility of continuing this tradition. More details will be provided in later announcements.




  Given the size of the conference venue, the number of participants will be restricted to 150. In the unlikely event that the total number of attendees (participants + guests) exceeds 150, space is available in the adjacent Stonehenge Hotel. Accommodations will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

As the conference falls within the peak international travel season, participants are strongly urged to enquire as early as possible about international flights to and from South Africa.

Participants will be responsible for their own pre- and post-conference accommodation bookings in Johannesburg. Hotels such as the Garden Court Sandton (U.S. $80.00 per person sharing) and Garden Court Sandton City (U.S. $105.00) are within easy walking distance of shops and restaurants in the very popular Sandton area of Johannesburg; the less-expensive Garden Court Milpark Hotel (U.S. $65.00) will require taxi service to reach restaurants and shops.

Options on the Indication of Intent form will allow participants and their guests to share information about their interests and plans with the conveners, which will help expedite group bookings through tour operators.




  In order to help conference organizers plan the meeting, and to subscribe to a notification list to receive updated information about the conference, please submit the electronic indication of interest form by December 1, 2007.




  For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the conference, please contact:
    Impact Cratering Research Group
    School of Geosciences
    University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    Johannesburg 2050
    South Africa
    Tel: 0027.11.7176553
    Fax: 0027.11.7176579
    E-mail: [email protected]

For questions concerning conference announcements, contact:
    Lunar and Planetary Institute
    Phone: 281-486-2164
    E-mail: [email protected]


December 1, 2007Deadline for indication of intent form
March 5, 2008 Second announcement with call for abstracts
posted on this website
May 15, 2008 Deadline for abstract submission
June 13, 2008 Final announcement with program and abstracts
posted on this website
June 20, 2008 Deadline for registration
August 18–21, 2008 Conference on Large Meteorite Impacts
and Planetary Evolution IV


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