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Famed Rock Formation in Galapagos Islands Collapses

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A famous rock structure in the Galapagos Islands collapsed on Monday.

Two rocky pillars are all that’s left of Darwin’s Arch, about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador.

“This event is a consequence of natural erosion,” Ecuador’s environmental ministry tweeted.

“Darwin’s Arch is made of natural stone that at one time would have been part of Darwin Island, which is not open to on-land visits. This site is considered one of the best places on the planet to scuba dive and observe schools of sharks and other species.”


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Divers have been known to encounter sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins near the arch, according to The Guardian.

The rock formation was named after the British scientist Charles Darwin, who visited the islands in 1835 and is said to have developed his theory of evolution by examining the Galapagos finches.

A group of divers witnessed the collapse at about 11:20 a.m., according to Scuba Diver Life.

“The effect of the collapse on the dive site itself is unknown, and no divers were harmed to our knowledge,” the magazine’s website read.


“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,” Washington Tapia, director of conservation at Galapagos Conservancy, told The Associated Press in response to the collapse.

“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.”


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Jen Jones of the Galapagos Conservation Trust said the group was “sad to hear the news about Darwin’s Arch collapsing.”

“The collapse of the arch is a reminder of how fragile our world is,” she told The Guardian.

“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.”

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently announced a $43 million initiative to bring conservation measures to the islands, Forbes reported.

The money will fund projects including the restoration of Floreana Island, which is home to 54 threatened species, and the reintroduction of locally extinct species.

Did you know that The Western Journal now publishes some content in Spanish as well as English, for international audiences? Click here to read this article on The Western Journal en Español!

Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.

Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.


Tucson, Arizona




Graduated with Honors


Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon

Books Written

Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future


Prescott, Arizona

Languages Spoken

English, French

Topics of Expertise

Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith

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