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There has been much theorising as to the manner in which the typical conglomerate formation of the Witwatersrand came to be placed in position. One theory which achieved some following was that in the glacial period a vast river flowed down from a north-westerly direction, passing close to the present site of Randfontein, then turning due east to flow over what was the extreme Southern Transvaal.
The Witwatersrand formed its northern bank and along this bank were deposited the gold-covered pebbles, etc., which form our conglomerate. Proof of this, it was held, lay in the patchy formation as the Nigel Reef on the Far East Rand.
But there were many who refused to accept this theory and populated instead the theory that the Witwatersrand formed the shore of a sea that swept around in the shape of a great crescent along the Witwatersrand and around in a southerly direction towards Klerksdorp, curving again through the Free State and so out to open water...
A third theory combines the river and sea ideas, i.e. that a great river flowed down through a delta into a huge lake. The gold pebbles were deposited into the delta. In a later upheaval the granites were forced upwards to form the Rand.
Both the river and the sea theories are, in a sense, linked up with great Witpoortjie Gap which encircles and stratigraphically isolates the Krugersdorp and Randfontein area. Cutting right across the Main Reef series in the vicinity of Witpoortjie Falls is a great fault that has flung all the Reefs out of series and placed a blank spot on the Rand's mining maps.
Curving downwards then around and up to the north-west it seemed to write "finis" to the progress of Rand mining once the limits of the great Randfontein Estates Gold Mining Co's property were reached.
For many years, therefore exploratory work was concentrated on the Far East and here expansion was rapid as mine after the mine was opened up until, with a swing to the south the world's richest gold mine was revealed in the Sub Nigel.