Famed Darwin’s Arch in Galapagos Islands collapses due to erosion, officials say

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Darwin’s Arch, a famous natural rock formation off the coast of the Galapagos Islands, collapsed on Monday, and Ecuadorian officials blame erosion.

Ecuador’s environmental ministry, located 600 miles east of the islands, posted on Twitter the news of the archway's collapse.

“This event is a consequence of natural erosion. 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," officials said.

Darwin's Arch on Sunday, May 16, 2021.
Darwin's Arch on Sunday, May 16, 2021.

The tourist boating group Aggressor Adventures said Monday evening the collapse happened around 11:20 a.m. local time and a tourist boat witnessed the "once in a lifetime event."

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"The world-famous Darwin's Arch collapsed in front of their eyes. 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," the group shared on Facebook.

The arch was located less than a mile away from Darwin Island, also named after Charles Darwin, the famous British scientist who developed his theory on evolution and natural selection after visiting the islands in 1835.

Handout photo released by the Ecuadorean Ministry of Environment of the Darwin Arch after it collapsed near Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, on May 17, 2021.
Handout photo released by the Ecuadorean Ministry of Environment of the Darwin Arch after it collapsed near Darwin Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, on May 17, 2021.

The archway was a popular destination for divers and tourists to spot sharks, dolphins and other species, according to Ecuadorian officials. No divers were reportedly present during the time of the collapse.

The Galapagos Island is under major threat of erosion, according to the New York Times. Jen Jones of the Galápagos Conservation Trust told The Guardian the collapse, "is a reminder of how fragile our world is. While there is little that we as humans can do to stop geological processes such as erosion, we can endeavor to protect the islands’ precious marine life."

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jord_mendoza.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Famed Darwin's Arch in Galapagos Islands collapses from erosion

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