QUITO, Ecuador – The famous Darwin Arch in the Galapagos Islands has lost its point, and officials blame the natural erosion of the stone.
The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment reported the collapse on Monday on its Facebook page.
The rock structure – 141 feet high, 230 feet long, and 75 feet wide – is less than 1 kilometer from Darwin Island and is a popular diving spot. It cannot be reached by land.
“Obviously everyone in the Galapagos Islands felt nostalgic because it’s something we’ve been familiar with since childhood, and knowing it has changed was a bit of a shock,” said Washington Tapia, director of conservation for the Galapagos Conservancy. “From a scientific point of view, however, this is part of the natural process. The case is certainly due to exogenous processes such as weathering and erosion that normally occur on our planet.”
The unique flora and fauna found on remote islands about 600 miles off the coast of mainland Ecuador are known in part for inspiring Charles Darwin’s thoughts on evolution.