Officials blame natural weathering of the stone for the loss of the top of the famous Darwin’s Arch in the Galapagos Islands.
On Monday, Ecuador’s Environment Ministry announced the collapse on its Facebook page.
Scuba divers flock to the 141-foot-high, 230-foot-long, and 75-foot-wide rock structure, which is less than a kilometre (half-mile) from Darwin Island. It is not reachable 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.”
The distinctive flora and wildlife of distant islands 600 miles off the coast of mainland Ecuador are credited with influencing Charles Darwin’s evolutionary ideas.