The well-known Darwin’s Arch, an iconic geological and tourist formation, located in the northern Galapagos Islands, collapsed last Monday after a process of natural erosion, reported the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador.
This giant formation, similar to the Arc de Triomphe, was usually visited by tourists and a site where diving activities used to be practiced, according to tour operators in the area, who have reported no casualties or other damage.
This Monday “the collapse of Darwin’s Arch, the attractive natural bridge” located next to Darwin Island, the northernmost island of the Galapagos archipelago, was reported as a “consequence of natural erosion,” the Ministry said in a Twitter message.
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 Ambiente, Agua y Transición Ecológica (@Ambiente_Ec) May 17, 2021
The so-called Darwin’s Arch is a natural rock that was once part of the island of the same name, which cannot be visited by land, due to biodiversity protection regulations in the Ecuadorian archipelago.
However, the site is “considered one of the best places on the planet for diving and observing groups of sharks and other species,” explained the Ministry.
According to images captured by tourists, it seems that the lintel of Darwin’s Arch collapsed and only the pilasters of the formation remain.
At this site, after a dive, one can observe sharks, sea turtles, dolphins, countless species of fish and even whale sharks, according to local tour operators.
Diving specialists have described this place as the best in the world for this activity and called the dive as “the theater”, because the visitor could remain still, holding on to the rocks under the surface, to watch the spectacle of marine species.
This archipelago, which arose from submarine eruptions, is located in one of the most active volcanic areas of the planet, and is also subject to great seismic activity.
The Galapagos Islands, which were declared a Natural World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978, are located in the Pacific Ocean about 1,000 kilometers west of the continental coasts of Ecuador.
This archipelago, made up of 13 large islands, 6 smaller ones and 42 islets, is considered a natural laboratory that allowed the English scientist Charles Darwin to develop his theory on the evolution and natural selection of species.