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South Africa  2016 "South African Geology"

Issue Date 26.08.2016
ID Michel:  Scott:  Stanley Gibbons:  Yvert:   UPU:   Category: pF
Designer Artwork: Rachel-Mari Ackermann
Stamps in set 10
Value International Small Letter 
Size (width x height) 35,5mmx35,5mm, Sheet size: 192mm x 149mm
Layout Sheets of 10 stamps
Products FDC x2
Paper 230 g (210g+20g self-adhesive) front 90g/m2
Perforation Not applicable – self-adhesive
Print Technique Offset Lithography, colourless ink phosphorescent secured by a marker "Phil @ poste"
Printed by La Poste, Phil@poste, France
Quantity 50 000 sheets
Issuing Authority South African Post Office
geology and fossils on stamps of South Africa 2016

On 26 August 2016 the South African Post Office  issued a sheet of 10 International Small Letter rate stamps to coincide with the 35th International Geological Congress at the Cape Town International Conference Centre. The stamps offer an artistic interpretation of ten different geological superlatives of great economic value and major scientific importance in South Africa. Cross-sectional keys  printed on the back of the stamps. The concept designs for these stamps were researched and drawn by South African geologist, Pieter Bosch of the Council for Geoscience and the artwork was illustrated by artist, Rachel-Mari Ackermann of Philatelic Services. The stamps have phosphor spots at strategically placed areas that glow when viewed under UV light. 

Karoo Supergroup
Karoo Supergroup on stamp of South Africa 2016Karoo Supergroup on stamp of South Africa 2016

The Karoo Supergroup, a sedimentary rock sequence, covers about two-thirds of South Africa and is several thousand metres thick. This is the best repository in the world for mammal-like reptile fossils, covering the transition from reptiles to early dinosaurs and their evolution. The rocks also provide evidence of one of the great extinction events in earth’s history about 250 million years ago when some 90% of all life on earth disappeared.
Barberton Greenstone Supergroup, early life
Barberton Greenstone Supergroup, early life on stamp of South Africa 2016

This area is located in the east of Mpumalanga, bordering Swaziland. Remnants of the earliest earth’s crust are preserved in the Barberton Greenstone Belt and some of these rocks are dated at around 3,500 million years and contain traces of very early life-forms, minute blue-green algae.


The Table Mountain World Heritage Site
The Table Mountain World Heritage Site on stamp of South Africa 2016The Table Mountain World Heritage Site on stamp of South Africa 2016
The mountain is made up of five major rock formations, the oldest (The Malmesbury Group) is around 700 million years old and the youngest formation is the light-coloured quartzitic sandstone of the Table Mountain Group. Along Chapman’s Peak, the eroded upper surface of the Cape Granite is overlain by the lighter coloured quartzitic sandstone of the Table Mountain Group. This geological unconformity is world famous amongst geologists and the site along the coast at Sea Point, Cape Town, was also visited by Charles Darwin in 1836 during his worldwide travels with a ship named the  Beagle.
Griqualand West Supergroup
Griqualand West Supergroup on stamp of South Africa 2016Griqualand West Supergroup on stamp of South Africa 2016

The Griqualand West Supergroup is a pile of sedimentary rocks. These rocks formed between 2650 and 2000 million years ago when rifting and subsidence created an extensive shallow sea in which primitive life thrived. Cyanobacteria of the area and elsewhere released massive amounts of oxygen into the atmosphere and it is often referred to as the oxygen pump of the earth. The release of oxygen resulted in the chemical deposition of iron and manganese. This Supergroup contains the world’s largest deposits of manganese, and it is South Africa’s main iron source.
Witwatersrand Supergroup
Witwatersrand Supergroup on stamp of South Africa 2016Witwatersrand Supergroup on stamp of South Africa 2016
The extensive Witwatersrand gold deposits were discovered in 1886 and it produced nearly half of the gold ever found on earth. The Witwatersrand is the largest known goldfield and it is distributed along a 350 km long, half-moon shaped basin from near Evander in Mpumalanga in the east across Johannesburg in central Gauteng towards the North-West Province near Klerksdorp and southwards towards the central eastern Free State at Welkom. Nearly 48,000 tons of gold have been extracted from seven major mining areas.
Vredeford Dome meteor impact site (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
Vredeford Dome meteor impact site on stamp of South Africa 2016Vredeford Dome meteor impact site on stamp of South Africa 2016
This is the oldest known meteorite impact site in the world. A meteorite estimated at around 10 kilometres in diameter formed an impact crater of about 360 kilometres in diameter about 2000 million years ago resulting in very spectacular scenery over an area of around 50 kilometres in diameter. The pressure and heat of the impact folded and faulted some rock layers while some rocks were locally melted, brecciated and re-solidified to form a typical impact related rock known as pseudo-tachylite.
Bushveld Igneous Complex
Bushveld Igneous Complex on stamp of South Africa 2016Bushveld Igneous Complex on stamp of South Africa 2016

The Bushveld Complex stretches over an area of over 65,000 square kilometres and reaches thicknesses of up to 8,000 metres. As Magma deposited 2055 million years ago, it solidified and cooled very slowly, creating a “Layered Intrusion”; the largest of its kind in the world. It contains the world’s largest deposits of platinum, chrome and vanadium.
Kimberlite volcanic pipe
Kimberlite volcanic pipe on stamp of South Africa 2016Kimberlite volcanic pipe on stamp of South Africa 2016

Kimberlite is the most important primary host-rock of diamonds. Kimberlite originates very deep below the earth’s surface, and finds its way along fissures and volcanic pipes to the surface of the earth. Weathering and transport of the Kimberlite and hosted diamonds gave rise to the gravels containing diamonds along the West Coast and along the Gariep and Vaal Rivers and their major tributaries.
Phalaborwa Carbonatite
Phalaborwa Carbonatitee on stamp of South Africa 2016Phalaborwa Carbonatite on stamp of South Africa 2016

The Phalaborwa Complex is an extinct alkaline volcanic complex that was active around 2060 million years ago and it is the only economically viable carbonatite-hosted copper deposit in the world. The core of the Complex, known as Loolekop is a composite intrusion with a generally concentric arrangement of foskorite and a core of carbonatite and dolerite. It holds South Africa’s largest deposit of copper.






Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site
Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site on stamp of South Africa 2016Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site on stamp of South Africa 2016
This is the most prolific source of hominid fossils on earth. The hominids were preserved in cave systems and karstic depressions within dolomite.

Famous hominid fossils found in the Cradle of Humankind are:

Mrs Ples”, estimated to be about 2.7 million years old,
Little Foot”, an almost complete skeleton of another hominid dated at about 3.3 million years old.
Australopithecus Sediba, a new hominid species (depicted on the stamp),
Homo Naledi”, the newest hominid. It is argued that the “Chamber of Stars”, where it was discovered, might represent the first evidence of burial by hominids.

Notes:

Mr. Lee. R. Berger (the finder of Australopithecus sediba) informed me that the geological structures of Malapa -where A. sediba was found- were not correct described on the stamp. To report the differences here is a chart to show the real circumstances.

Products

FDC 
Used covers
geology and fossils on FDC of South Africa 2016 geology and fossils on FDC of South Africa 2016



  
Acknowledge:  Many thanks to Peter Brandhuber for additional information about these stamps
References:    Official press release on Facebook site of  the South African Post Office

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