It’s gone. The famed Darwin’s Arch (Arco de Darwin), a key feature of the Galàpagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador, finally gave way to natural erosion processes and collapsed into the ocean on May 17. At 43 m (141 ft.) high, 70 m (230 ft.) long, and 23 m (75 ft.) wide, the arch was a phenomenal sight and had been named for explorer and scientist Charles Darwin who had formed his theory of evolution after visiting the Galàpagos.
The entire region has been a popular tourist site for decades, but has been stressed in recent years due to warming ocean temperatures.
“The collapse of the arch is a reminder of how fragile our world is,” said Jen Jones of the Galàpagos Conservation Trust. “While there is little that we as humans can do to stop geological processes such as erosion, we can endeavour to protect the islands’ precious marine life. Galápagos Conservation Trust is working with partners to protect these sharks both within the Galápagos marine reserve and on their migrations outside in the wider eastern tropical Pacific.”