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The Bar­ber­ton Makhon­jwa moun­tain range is one of the world’s old­est ge­o­log­i­cal fea­tures. It con­tains some of the finest ex­am­ples of pre­served vol­canic and sed­i­men­tary rock dat­ing back to when Earth’s con­ti­nents were start­ing to form more than three bil­lion years ago.

The moun­tains also have me­teor-im­pact fall­back brec­cias – a type of rock made of frag­ments of min­er­als and rocks left be­hind by me­teor strikes in our so­lar sys­tem about four bil­lion years ago.

The area has pro­vided “an un­par­al­leled source of sci­en­tific in­for­ma­tion on the for­ma­tion of the early Earth”, arts and cul­ture min­is­ter Nathi Mthethwa said af­ter the Unesco an­nounce­ment.

Also re­ferred to as the “Gen­e­sis of Life”, the range is be­lieved to con­tain rem­nants of the old­est life forms.

The caves here con­tain San rock art, as well as Stone Age tools.

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