The iconic Darwin Arch of the Galapagos Islands collapses into the sea | Environment News

Ecuador’s Environment Ministry said the collapse was the result of natural erosion.

Darwin’s Arch, a famous natural rock formation in the Galapagos Islands, has collapsed into the sea as a result of erosion, Ecuadorian environmental officials have said.

Photographs posted on social media by Ecuador’s Environment Ministry showed rubble from the top of the arch collapsed into the ocean with the two support columns still standing.

“We are reporting that the iconic Darwin Arch has collapsed,” the ministry wrote in Spanish on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

The 43-meter (141-foot) high rock formation, named after British naturalist Charles Darwin, stands at the northern end of the Galapagos Islands and is a popular spot for scuba divers.

Once part of neighboring Darwin Island, the arch is renowned for its variety of underwater life, including schools of hammerhead sharks.

“Obviously, everyone in the Galapagos felt homesick because this is something we’ve known from childhood, and knowing that this has changed was a bit of a shock,” said Washington Tapia, director of the conservation at Galapagos Conservancy. “However, from a scientific point of view, it is part of the natural process. The fall is surely due to exogenous processes such as weathering and erosion which are things that normally occur on our planet.

The Galapagos are an isolated volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles (965 kilometers) west of the Equator and are home to unique flora and fauna that inspired British naturalist Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

The 234 islands, coves and rocks are part of a biosphere reserve and a world heritage site. Four of them house some 30,000 people.

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