Lunar and Planetary Institute







Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV (LMI 2008), August 18-22, 2008


Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution IV (LMI 2008)

Final Announcement — June 2008

 

HOSTED BY —
University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, South Africa

SPONSORED BY —
Lunar and Planetary Institute,
National Aeronautics and
  Space Administration, USA,
Barringer Family Fund, USA,
Council for Geoscience,
  South Africa,
Department of Tourism,
  Environmental and Economic
  Affairs, Free State Province,
Fezile Dabi District
  Municipality,
Geological Society of
  South Africa,
Geological Society of America,
KWV Wineries,
National Research Foundation
  of South Africa, School of
  Geosciences, University
  of the Witwatersrand,
South African Airways,
South African Mint

CONVENERS —
Roger Gibson,
   University of the Witwatersrand
   Johannesburg

Uwe Reimold,
   Museum für Naturkunde,
   Humboldt University, Berlin

ORGANIZING
   COMMITTEE —

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,
   Tucson

Ulrich Riller,
   McMaster University, Canada


  CONFERENCE LOCATION AND DATE

  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.

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.

Rooms will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The Sunwa River Lodge has a satellite facility, Lavender Hills, located about five minutes from the Lodge. Participants being accompanied by partners and/or family members may be booked into the Lavender Hills facility, as well as participants who prefer single rooms. In the event that the conference is fully subscribed, the organizers in fact may request that delegates preferring single rooms either share a room or take a single room at the Lavender Hills facility.

Shuttle service will be provided between the two facilities; all meals will be served at the Sunwa Lodge. Details about the Lodge and its varied program of activities, including hiking, river rafting, and helicopter flights over the Vredefort Mountainland, are provided on their website.

 

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

  PURPOSE AND SCOPE

  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, Canada (1992 and 1997) and in Nördlingen, Germany (2003). Since LMI III, several major international drilling and field projects of terrestrial impact structures, and new space programs to our neighbouring 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. Several special symposia will be convened. Both pre- and post-conference excursions through the Vredefort structure and to the well-exposed Tswaing meteorite crater (100 km north of Johannesburg) will take place. A post-conference excursion to the Barberton Mountainland and Kruger National Park is also being offered.

 

   
 

  SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM

  Oral sessions will be held from Monday morning to Thursday noon. A formal poster session will be held on Monday afternoon after tea. Posters will be on display for the entire meeting. The sessions will cover a wide range of topics, including
  • Drilling of Impact Structures (Special Symposium)
  • Extraterrestrial Cratering
  • Impact Ejecta
  • Terrestrial Craters
  • Modeling Impact Cratering
  • Drilling at Impact Craters – ICDP and Other Projects
  • Large Impacts
  • Structural Geology of Impact Craters from Macro to Micro

PRESENTATIONS —
Oral presentations will be held in the main conference hall at Sunwa River Lodge, with breaks for tea and lunch. All presentations will be in PowerPoint (Microsoft Office 2003 version). Please note that the system available makes use of IBM-based PCs, so Mac users should save presentations in the appropriate format. Oral presentations will be 12 minutes long, plus 3 minutes for questions. A Speaker Preparation Room will be available with desktop computers for uploading of talks.

Poster presentations will be presented in the small conference hall directly adjacent to the main hall. The poster format must be landscape mode, and the size should not exceed 116 cm wide by 90 cm high. Posters will be attached using velcro.

A preliminary program with abstracts is now available. Authors should check the program index to see when their presentation has been scheduled.

 

 

  SCIENTIFIC EXCURSIONS

  Following the feedback received from the First Announcement, the option of providing an additional post-conference excursion to the Tswaing Crater (to alleviate pressure on the post-conference Vredefort Dome excursion) has been added. Delegates participating in the pre-conference Vredefort Dome excursion will remain at Sunwa Lodge on Saturday night, where they will be joined by the main group of delegates on Sunday afternoon. Those on the post-conference Vredefort Dome excursion will remain at Sunwa Lodge after the conference when the others return to the Sandton hotels.

VREDEFORT DOME —
PC1 - Pre-conference: Friday, August 15 to Saturday, August 16
PC3 - Post-conference: Friday, August 22 to Saturday, August 23

Guides:  Roger Gibson, University of the Witwatersrand, and Uwe Reimold, Humboldt University

The Vredefort Dome was declared a World Heritage Site in 2005 in recognition of its superlative geological exposures that display evidence of the 2023 Ma impact event. The 90-km-wide dome represents the exposed root of the central uplift of the original ~300-km-wide Vredefort crater. Outcrops display shatter cones, ubiquitous pseudotachylitic breccias, dikes of impact melt-rock as well as a range of brittle and brittle-ductile structures related to formation of the central uplift and unusual high-temperature thermal effects induced by the impact. The dome exposes a 25–30 km vertical section through the Archean and Paleoproterozoic crust of the Kaapvaal craton, representing nearly 1500 million years of pre-impact history. This two-day excursion will cover all aspects of the geology of the dome with particular emphasis on research results obtained since 2000. The pre-conference excursion will leave from the Sandton hotels; the post-conference excursion will leave from the Sunwa River Lodge and will return participants to Sandton.

Participants:  20 minimum, 40 maximum
Cost:  R1750 (~US $235*) (includes field guide, luxury coach, two nights accommodation at Sunwa Lodge, including two breakfasts, picnic lunches, and dinners)
*Approximate US $ cost based on currency exchange rate of US $1 : R7.50

TSWAING CRATER —
PC2 - Pre-conference: Saturday, August 16
PC4 - Post-conference: Friday, August 22

Guide:  Dr. Gillian Drennan, University of the Witwatersrand

The 0.2 Ma Tswaing crater (Tswaing is Sotho for "place of salt") is one of the world's best-preserved simple bowl-shaped craters. It is located in the granitic rocks of the Bushveld Complex some 40 kilometers north-west of Pretoria. The near-circular structure has a 1.13 km rim-to-rim diameter with a maximum rim elevation of 60 m above the surrounding plains and a maximum elevation of 119 m above the crater floor. The crater was originally believed to represent the remains of an extinct volcano, but in 1990 distinctive evidence for meteorite impact was discovered in drill core samples beneath the crater floor. Visitors to the Tswaing impact crater will have the opportunity of studying the ejecta breccia and other large-scale deformation effects on a walk through the crater. Both excursions will leave from the Sandton hotels.

Participants:  8 minimum, 40 maximum
Cost:  R400.00 (~US $55) (including transportation, entrance fees, mid-morning snack, picnic lunch, and a book on Tswaing Crater).

BARBERTON MOUNTAINLAND AND KRUGER NATIONAL PARK —
PC5 - Six-day post-conference field excursion: Friday, August 22 to Wednesday, August 27
Guide:  Dr. Dion Brandt, Barberton, formerly University of the Witwatersrand

Itinerary
Day 1:  Leave Johannesburg and travel to the Barberton granite-greenstone geosites around the town of Badplaas that are the subject of a current World Heritage Site application. Visits to the classical komatiite outcrops and other Archean exposures in the Songimvelo Nature Reserve. Overnight in Badplaas at Mineral Spring Resort.

Day 2:  Visits to South Africa's oldest gold mine and other associated outcrops near the historical town of Barberton. Overnight in Barberton at Diggers Retreat.

Days 3 and 4:  Departure to the two-million hectare, world-renowned Kruger National Park where the group will spend two days viewing game and staying overnight at two of the park's rest camps.

Day 5:  Visits to the small, delightful village and heritage site of Pilgrims Rest where alluvial gold was discovered in the late nineteenth century. Some of South Africa's most panoramic landforms will be visited en route to Pilgrims Rest. An overnight stay at Pilgrims Rest will be at the historic Royal Hotel.

Day 6:  Return to the hotel in Johannesburg.

Participants:  8 minimum, 20 maximum
Cost:  R 7000 (~US $930) (including all accommodations, meals, entrance fees and transportation): Malaria prophylactic recommended for Kruger Park

~ A SPECIAL REQUEST TO PARTICIPANTS! ~
Since the declaration of a portion of the Vredefort Dome as a World Heritage Site in July 2005, the provincial and local governments involved in the administration of the site have been engaged in a process of drawing up a management plan for the site and in the creation of a tourism infrastructure to showcase the geology of the dome. Among the initiatives nearing completion is the creation of an Interpretation Centre near the town of Vredefort. This Centre contains a 60-seat auditorium and more than 500 square meters of display area. Its location is aimed to uplift the economically depressed Vredefort town by providing employment opportunities.

Given the importance of outreach activities in our field, the organizers propose that the LMI IV conference be used to establish international links between the Interpretation Center and other similar centers and impact cratering research groups around the world. The suggestion has been made to host a ceremony at the Interpretation Centre on Wednesday, August 20, at which conference delegates can present to the people of the Vredefort Dome small gifts for display in the museum. Because the Vredefort Structure is deeply eroded and contains none of the suevites or shallow-level breccias, glasses, tektites, etc., of many other craters, or meteorite fragments, samples of such would greatly enhance visitors' understanding of the process of impact cratering. Even comparing the rather irregular partial shatter cones of the dome with samples of more complete cones from, say, Steinheim or Haughton Dome would be highly instructive. The donor of each sample will be acknowledged in the displays. While samples are the most obvious example for donations, it may be that donors have a striking image or a particularly effective poster describing a crater or related process that they may have worked on, or even such materials as a video clip of impact experiments, or a model simulation showing crater evolution or environmental consequences of impact, etc. If you have such images or posters, please get in touch with Roger Gibson with your offer or suggestions, and we will see what can be arranged. The benefits of these donations will be felt long into the future!

 

 

  SOCIAL EVENTS

  WELCOME FUNCTION — Sunday, August 17, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The conference will begin with a buffet dinner hosted by the Department of Tourism, Environmental and Economic Affairs (Free State Province) at the Parys Country Club. Coaches will transport delegates leaving the Sunwa Lodge at 5:15 p.m. and returning at 8:30 p.m.

INVITED LECTURE — Monday, August 18, 7:45 to 8:45 p.m.
Following dinner, Roy McG. Miller, former Director of the Namibian Geological Survey, Windhoek, will present a special evening lecture about "The Roter Kamm Meteorite Impact Crater and its Ejecta Apron in the Southern Namib Desert of Southwestern Namibia." This lecture will review the multidisciplinary investigations of this impact crater and provide an intriguing perspective of the Namib Desert.

VREDEFORT DOME WORLD HERITAGE SITE COMMEMORATIVE COIN MINTING — Tuesday, August 19, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
The South African Mint has elected to release its final gold coin commemorating South Africa's World Heritage Sites in a ceremony in the World Heritage Site on Tuesday afternoon that will be attended by members of the national television and press. A limited number of coins will be made available to interested participants. A cocktail party will follow the minting on the grounds of the Sunwa Lodge before dinner.

WINE TASTING — Tuesday, August 19, 7:45 p.m.
Following dinner, a wine tasting sponsored by KWV Wineries will be held in the Hippo Room.

PRESENTATION OF DONATIONS FOR VREDEFORT INTERPRETATION CENTER AND CLOSING CEREMONY — Wednesday, August 20, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The closing ceremony will take place at the newly constructed Vredefort Interpretation Centre and will be sponsored by the Fezile Dabi District Municipality. Coaches will transport delegates. This ceremony will provide an opportunity for delegates to present to the people of the Vredefort Dome donations of samples and other materials that will be incorporated into the Interpretation Center (see announcement above).

 

 

  GUEST TOUR PROGRAM

  Indications are that a significant number of guests will accompany conference participants and that both delegates and their guests are interested in experiencing some of South Africa's natural and cultural attractions on their visit. These excursions will not be booked through the conference. Interested participants should contact Mad Dog Adventures for bookings for pre- and post-conference tours to, among others, 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. During the course of the conference, guests may wish to simply enjoy the peace of a rural hotel or to participate in one or more of the following activities arranged through the Sunwa Lodge (booking at the resort office):

GUEST TOUR 1 — Monday, August 18:  Two-hour Walking Nature Trail of Sunwa with an expert guide (R125.00)

GUEST TOUR 2 — Tuesday, August 19:  Visit to Savannah Cheetah Ranch and Game Drive (R475.00)

GUEST TOUR 3 — Wednesday, August 20:  Cultural Heritage Resources of the Vredefort Dome (R450.00): This excursion will visit the Venterskroon mining village and old mine shafts, the Iron Age Askoppies kraal site and the Bushman petroglyphs at Daskop, returning by lunchtime

GUEST TOUR 4 — Wednesday, August 20:  Visit to Parys art galleries, shops, including lunch R150.00; Coach House Spa Massage (Full Body R300.00; Neck and Back R200.00)

 

 

  TRANSPORTATION

  AIRLINE FLIGHTS —
Sunwa River Lodge is located less than a two hours' drive from O.R. Tambo International Airport (formerly Johannesburg International Airport), which is served by most of the world's major airlines. Some international flights arrive at Cape Town or Durban International Airports and will require connecting flights to O.R. Tambo Airport.

** South African Airways — Preferred Conference Carrier **
South African Airways (SAA), the national airline carrier of South Africa, has been appointed as the preferred carrier for the conference. SAA serves most major cities in Europe and has direct flights into North America (Washington, DC, and New York). The airline is part of the Star Alliance. The following conditions apply:

SAA is offering delegates special fares over the period of the event on a first-come, first-served basis. Early booking is strongly suggested as flights to, from, and within South Africa are generally in heavy demand. These fares are available for flights booked directly with SAA or their Intercontinental, Regional, and Domestic services subject to the relevant class availability. Conditions will apply. Any flights undertaken on foreign carriers will be for the delegate's own account. Enquiries can be made immediately by contacting your nearest SAA office. Contact details for all the SAA Offices worldwide can be obtained from the website www.flysaa.com. South African residents should contact Shirley Berry on telephone 011 978 1100. In all instances quote reference number AIR.GC.07.000046.

SAA will require proof of registration. A letter will be provided upon receipt of the registration form and proof of payment.

CONFERENCE COACH TRANSPORT —
Chartered coaches will transport participants from the two Sandton hotels to Sunwa Lodge at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, and will return to these hotels by 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 21. Delegates wishing to depart on international flights on Thursday, August 21, will be dropped directly at the O.R. Tambo International Airport. All conference-related transportation is included with the conference package; however, delegates are required to make their own way to the Sandton hotels upon arrival. The Garden Court Sandton City Hotel runs a hotel shuttle bus upon request that will drop guests at the Garden Court Sandton Hotel as well. Delegates are asked to request pickup when booking their Sandton hotel rooms as prior booking is essential. The cost is R230 for a single person and R70 thereafter per extra person (cost divided equally between all people on board). From time to time, reports have surfaced of visitors being conned and robbed by criminals posing as taxi operators at O.R. Tambo Airport. Delegates are, thus, urged to ignore the offers of transportation that will be made by people standing in the Arrivals Hall, and use the Garden Court Sandton Shuttle only or obtain information about other accredited shuttle services at the Information Desk in the Arrivals Hall.

 

 

  COSTS

  The main conference costs comprise accommodations and meals at Sunwa River Lodge, and the delegates' registration fee, which covers all social events, transportation between Sandton and Sunwa Lodge, and the abstract volume and abstract CD-ROM. Students will pay a reduced registration fee for all the above. The guest registration fee covers transportation to and from Sunwa River Lodge, and all conference social events. Any of the daytime guest tours will cost extra.

ACCOMMODATIONS AND MEALS —
Four nights accommodations and meals at Sunwa River Lodge (from the evening of August 17 to lunch, August 21)
  Sharing     R3350.00 (~$450.00 USD)
  Single*     R4250.00 (~$570.00 USD)
*The conference organizers may ask participants to share if the conference is fully booked, or to preferentially place participants prepared to share at the main Sunwa River Lodge. Otherwise requests for single rooms will be treated on a first-come, first-served basis.

REGISTRATION FEE —
  Participant     R490.00 (~$65.00 USD)
  Student     R390.00 (~$52.00 USD)
  Guest     R340.00 (~$45.00 USD)

EXCURSIONS —
  Vredefort Dome     R1750.00 (~$235.00 USD)
  Tswaing     R400.00 (~$55.00 USD)
  Barberton     R7000.00 (~$930.00 USD)
  Karoo Basin     R6200.00 (~$830.00 USD)

* Notes *

  • Early registration fees apply only until June 20. Late registration from June 21 to July 20 will require payment of a late registration penalty of R300.
  • Upon receipt, a confirmation of registration statement will be e-mailed to registrant.
  • There are no abstract fees payable.
  • Pre- and post-conference accommodations in Johannesburg/Sandton must be booked directly with the hotels (see below).
  • Transportation between the Sandton hotels and O.R. Tambo International Airport is not covered in the conference fee.
  • The Sunwa Lodge hotel fee does not include drinks, which must be paid for individually (in addition to what is provided during official conference social events). Hotel regulations prohibit drinks being brought onto the premises by guests.

FEE PAYMENT —
All payments listed above must be made by credit card or bank transfer to the following account:

First National Bank of SA Limited
Current account number: 62151059469
Branch Code: 251 905
Branch Name: Braamfontein
Code: Wits University (LMI 2008)
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ950
Participants must fax or e-mail a scanned copy of proof of payment to Roger Gibson at the address below.

CONFIRMATION OF REGISTRATION —
Please ensure that your Registration Form is faxed or e-mailed to

Prof. R.L. Gibson
School of Geosciences
University of the Witwatersrand
Fax:  No. +27 11 717 6579
E-mail:  roger.gibson@wits.ac.za

CANCELLATION POLICY —
Registration fees and hotel charges will be refunded less a $20.00 administrative fee for cancellations received prior to June 20, 2008. For cancellations between June 20 and July 31, 2008, a 50% cancellation fee will be charged. Thereafter no refund will be possible.

 

 

  VISAS

  As with all international travel, visitors to South Africa are required to be in possession of a valid passport. Travelers from certain countries also need a visa. Inquiries can be directed to travel agents, South African diplomatic representatives abroad, or the agencies of the South African Tourism Board (SATOUR), which are located in many major cities worldwide. Visitors who intend to travel to South Africa's neighbouring countries and back to South Africa are advised that they may need to apply for multiple entry visas. In terms of existing arrangements, passport holders of certain countries (for example, many European, North American, and Commonwealth countries) are exempt from visa requirements. Letters of invitation can be obtained from Roger Gibson.

 

 

  ACCOMMODATIONS

  Participants will be responsible for their own pre- and post-conference accommodation bookings in Johannesburg. Two hotels in Sandton (part of the Johannesburg metropolis) have been approached about providing delegates with accommodations as the Sandton City precinct offers a wide range of shops and restaurants for tourists (as opposed to the Johannesburg CBD, which is an inner city area in need of major urban renewal):
  • The Garden Court Sandton Hotel (approximate cost bed R909 per person per night single; R546 pp sharing; Katherine St., Sandhurst, Tel. +27 11 8845660, Fax +27 11 7832004; contact lindar@southernsun.com)
    Group Booking: #1855.24

  • The Garden Court Sandton City Hotel (approximate cost R1047 single; R634 sharing; Maude St., Sandown, Tel. +27 11 2697000, Fax +27 11 2697030; contact ameliand@southernsun.com)
    Group Booking: #3454.43
    Group Name: LMI

Bookings can be made through www.southernsun.com. Participants are free to make other arrangements but all excursion and conference transportation will depart from the Garden Court Sandton and Garden Court Sandton City hotels.

 

 

  WEATHER

  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 night time 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 in mid-August. 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 travelling to Barberton or the Kruger Park may wish to consult their doctors about anti-malaria medication. No such medication is necessary for participants in Johannesburg, Parys, Port Elizabeth, or the western parts of the country.

 

 

  TRAVEL GRANTS

  A limited number of travel grants have been made available through generous sponsorship from the Barringer Family Fund, and the Geological Society of South Africa.

 

 

  CONFERENCE PROCEEDINGS

  Like the proceedings volumes of the previous Large Meteorite Impacts and Planetary Evolution conferences, the LMI IV proceedings volume will be published as a Special Paper of the Geological Society of America. Deadline for submission of contributions is December 1, 2008. Details will be presented at the conference.

 

 

  IMPORTANT NOTES

  CONFERENCE ONSITE REGISTRATION —
Registration will accompany check-in at Sunwa Lodge, between 2:00 and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 17, prior to departure for the Welcome Function. The registration desk will be staffed in the small conference room next to the dining room/bar. The registration desk will open at 7:45 a.m. on Monday, August 18.

MESSAGES AND INTERNET ACCESS —
Sunwa Lodge has wireless Internet access throughout its property. Should you wish to make use of Wi-Fi, a password will have to be obtained from the Reception Desk. If you need to leave forwarding contact details, the contact numbers for the Sunwa Lodge are +27 56 8177107 (telephone) and +27 56 8177362 (fax). Internet access is available in the Sandton hotels, and Internet cafes are also located nearby.

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE TRANSPORT —
Public transportation is available in and between major centers; however, Metro bus transport within Johannesburg is somewhat erratic. Since South Africa is geared toward private transportation, there is a well-maintained network of roads and motorways, some of which are toll roads. Traffic travels on the left, and speed limits are 60 kilometers/hour in urban areas, 100 kilometers/hour on secondary roads, and 120 kilometers/hour on national highways. The easiest form of transportation for travel throughout the country comes in the form of rental cars. All major car rental companies are represented in South Africa. Foreign driver's licenses are valid as long as they carry the photograph and signature of the holder. If the license is not in English, a certificate of authenticity written in English from an embassy is required.

A number of taxi services are available in Johannesburg. Please remember that taxis are not free-roaming and do not drive around looking for passengers. Taxis can be ordered by telephone, but can also be found at designated taxi-ranks, for example, at airports and railway stations. Please note the caution about unsolicited offers of taxi services at O.R.Tambo Airport. Hotel or restaurant staff will assist with arranging taxi services, and it is strongly recommended that delegates make use of their assistance.

CURRENCY EXCHANGE —
Most restaurants and shops, all hotels, and many other businesses accept all major credit cards. If, upon arrival, you wish to exchange some funds, exchange bureau counters are available in the International Arrivals Hall at O.R. Tambo International Airport or at Sandton City. Major ATM and credit cards can also be used at ATMs for the purpose of withdrawing money (please check with your travel agent or bank before departure). As a developing nation, South Africa's currency, the Rand, is prone to fluctuations by as much as 10–15% within a few weeks against the major currencies. At present it is fluctuating within the R7.30–R7.90 range to $1.00 USD. All conversions quoted above are based on US $1 : ZAR 7.50. It is a requirement of South African tax law that payment be made by participants in South African currency (the Rand).

SECURITY —
For those delegates spending time in Johannesburg/Sandton, please remember to be aware of personal safety at all times. To ensure that you enjoy your stay, be aware of the following tips:

  • Avoid walking alone in the streets, especially after dark or on the weekends. Nelson Mandela Square with its many restaurants is, of course, safe for walking.
  • It is advisable to use taxis at night, and only those that have been booked through a reputable taxi company or arranged by hotels.
  • Try not to attract attention by overtly carrying cameras or wearing expensive jewelry; leave valuables with hotel security.
  • If you have rented a car, always remember to keep your car doors locked. In cities, it is recommended that windows be kept closed, even while driving.
  • Try not to carry large amounts of cash; instead use traveler's checks or credit cards.

** The organizers recommend that you avoid the Johannesburg Central Business District unless you join a guided tour.

INSURANCE AND MEDICAL EMERGENCIES —
It is the responsibility of each delegate to provide their own travel insurance. The coach company hired to transport delegates carries passenger liability coverage. Sunwa Lodge is only 5 km from Parys, which has medical practitioners and a hospital able to handle medical emergencies.

 

 

  CONFERENCE SCHEDULE SUMMARY

 
DAYEVENT
Fri 158:30 a.m. — Vredefort Excursion departs Garden Court Sandton hotel
Sat 168:30 a.m. — Tswaing Excursion departs Garden Court Sandton hotel, returning 5:00 p.m.
Sun 178:00 a.m. — Optional activities for pre-conference Vredefort Excursion participants at Sunwa
12:30 p.m. — Coaches depart from Garden Court Sandton City
12:45 p.m. — Coaches depart from Garden Court Sandton hotels
3:00 p.m. — Delegates arrive at Sunwa Lodge; Registration and Check-in
5:15 p.m. — Coaches depart for Opening Ceremony, Parys Country Club
8:30 p.m. — Coaches return to Sunwa
Mon 188:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. — Conference Oral Sessions
3:30 to 6:00 p.m. — Poster Session
7:45 p.m. — Invited Lecture
Tue 198:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Oral Sessions
5:00 to 6:00 p.m. — Cocktail Party following Minting of Vredefort Dome World Heritage Site Commemorative Coin, Sunwa
7:30 to 9:00 p.m. — Wine Tasting, Sunwa
Wed 208:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Oral Sessions
6:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Closing Ceremony at Vredefort Interpretation Centre
Thu 218:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. — Oral Sessions
1:00 to 2:00 p.m. — Lunch
2:00 p.m. — Coaches depart for Sandton hotels and O.R. Tambo Airport
Fri 227:00 a.m. — Barberton Excursion departs from Sandton hotels
8:30 a.m. — Tswaing Excursion departs Garden Court Sandton hotel, returning at 5:00 p.m.
8:30 a.m. — Vredefort Excursion departs from Sunwa
Sat 235:00 p.m. — Vredefort Excursion coach returns to Sandton hotels
Wed 27Barberton Excursion returns to Sandton hotels

 

 

  CONTACT INFORMATION

  For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the conference or for conference logistics, please contact:
    ROGER GIBSON
    Impact Cratering Research Group
    School of Geosciences
    University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
    PO WITS
    Johannesburg 2050
    South Africa
    Tel: 0027.11.7176553
    Fax: 0027.11.7176579
    E-mail: roger.gibson@wits.ac.za

For questions concerning conference announcements, contact:
    ELIZABETH WAGGANER
    Lunar and Planetary Institute
    Phone: 281-486-2164
    E-mail: wagganer@lpi.usra.edu

SCHEDULE
June 20, 2008 Deadline for registration
August 17–21, 2008 Conference on Large Meteorite Impacts
and Planetary Evolution IV

 


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