QUITO, ECUADOR -- 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 meters (141 feet) high, 70 meters (230 feet) long and 23 meters (75feet) wide -- is less than 1 kilometer (about half a mile) from Darwin Island and it's a popular spot for scuba divers. It's 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."Sign up here to receive The Climate Barometer, delivering climate and environmental news to your inbox every week
The unique flora and fauna on remote islands, some 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) off the coast of mainland Ecuador are famed in part for inspiring Charles Darwin's thoughts on evolution.view larger image
This photo distributed by Galapagos National Park shows Darwin's Arch off the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Sunday, May 16, 2021. Ecuador’s Environment Ministry reported the collapse of the top of the arch on its Facebook page on Monday, May 17, and blame natural erosion of the stone. (Galapagos National Park via AP)Related Stories To reach net-zero emissions and limit global warming, no more fossil fuel projects: IEA Study finds evidence of solar wind particles buried within Earth's core A giant levitating tap spewing garbage: How a Montreal artist is raising awareness of plastic pollution
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