A famous rock structure in the Galapagos Islands collapsed on Monday.
Two rocky pillars are all that’s left of Darwin’s Arch, about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.
“This event is a consequence of natural erosion,” Ecuador’s environmental ministry tweeted.
“Darwin’s Arch is made of natural stone that at one time would have been part of Darwin Island, which is not open to on-land visits. This site is considered one of the best places on the planet to scuba dive and observe schools of sharks and other species.”
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 #Galápagos. Este suceso sería consecuencia de la erosión natural.
?Héctor Barrera pic.twitter.com/lBZJWNbgHg
— Ministerio del Ambiente y Agua de Ecuador (@Ambiente_Ec) May 17, 2021
The rock formation was named after the British scientist Charles Darwin, who visited the islands in 1835 and is said to have developed his theory of evolution by examining the Galapagos finches.
“The effect of the collapse on the dive site itself is unknown, and no divers were harmed to our knowledge,” the magazine’s website read.
“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,” Washington Tapia, director of conservation at Galapagos Conservancy, told The Associated Press in response to the collapse.
“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.”
Jen Jones of the Galapagos Conservation Trust said the group was “sad to hear the news about Darwin’s Arch collapsing.”
“The collapse of the arch is a reminder of how fragile our world is,” she told The Guardian.
“While there is little that we as humans can do to stop geological processes such as erosion, we can endeavour to protect the islands’ precious marine life.
“Galápagos Conservation Trust is working with partners to protect these sharks both within the Galápagos marine reserve and on their migrations outside in the wider eastern tropical Pacific.”
The money will fund projects including the restoration of Floreana Island, which is home to 54 threatened species, and the reintroduction of locally extinct species.
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