Erosion Triggers Collapse of Famous Rock Arch In The Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands aren’t just one of the world’s 7 natural wonders. The volcanic islands 1,000 miles off the coast of Ecuador have provided countless scientists, including Darwin himself, with crucial insights into our understanding of the natural world.

Now the islands seem intent on telling us our planet is changing. According to Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment, one of the Galapagos Islands’ signature rock formations, Darwin’s Arch, has just collapsed into the ocean.

Photo: Twitter/Ministerio del Ambiente y Agua de Ecuador/Héctor Barrera

“The collapse of Darwin’s Arch, the attractive natural bridge found less than a kilometer from the main area of Darwin Island, was reported,” the ministry wrote on Twitter. “Darwin’s Arch is made of natural stone that at one time would have been part of Darwin Island, which is not open to visits by land.”

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The arch’s collapse was attributed to natural erosion, but residents and visitors alike were nevertheless saddened and stunned by the landmark’s new look.

“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,” the director of conservation at the Galapagos Conservancy, Washington Tapia, told AP.

“However, from a scientific point of view, it’s part of the natural process,” Tapia said. “The fall is surely due to exogenous processes such as weathering and erosion which are things that normally happen on our planet.”

Some scuba divers even got to witness this natural process up close, because Darwin’s Arch also marks a popular diving spot. “Unfortunately today, our guests of the Galapagos Aggressor III experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Agressor Adventures wrote on Facebook.

Unfortunately today, our guests of the Galapagos Aggressor III experienced a once in a lifetime event. This morning at…

Posted by Aggressor Adventures on Monday, May 17, 2021

“This morning at 11:20 a.m. local time, the world-famous Darwin’s Arch collapsed in front of their eyes,” the tour company continued. “There are now only two pillars remaining. Some in the dive & travel industry are already referring to this now as “The Pillars of Evolution”. We will miss this iconic site.”

Did you get to see Darwin’s Arch before it collapsed? Let us know in the comments!

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