Top of famed Darwin's Arch off the Galapagos collapses
Scientists believe natural erosion of the stone is to blame
The famed Darwin's Arch in the Galapagos Islands has lost its top, and officials are blaming natural erosion of the stone.
Ecuador's Environment Ministry reported the collapse on its Facebook page on Monday.
The rock structure — 43 metres high, 70 metres long and 23 metres wide — is less than one kilometre from Darwin Island and is a popular spot for scuba divers. It is not accessible by land.
"Obviously all the people from the Galapagos felt nostalgic because it's something we're familiar with since childhood, and to know that it has changed was a bit of a shock," said Washington Tapia, director of conservation at Galapagos Conservancy.
"However, from a scientific point of view, it's part of the natural process. The fall is surely due to exogenous processes such as weathering and erosion which are things that normally happen on our planet."
Informamos que hoy 17 de mayo, se reportó el colapso del Arco de Darwin, el atractivo puente natural ubicado a menos de un kilómetro de la isla principal Darwin, la más norte del archipiélago de <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gal%C3%A1pagos?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Galápagos</a>. Este suceso sería consecuencia de la erosión natural. <br><br>📷Héctor Barrera <a href="https://t.co/lBZJWNbgHg">pic.twitter.com/lBZJWNbgHg</a>—@Ambiente_Ec
The arch is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The unique flora and fauna on remote islands, some 1,000 kilometres off the coast of mainland Ecuador are famed in part for inspiring Charles Darwin's thoughts on evolution.