(CNN) – One of the most famous rock formations in the Galapagos Islands fell to the sea.
The upper part of the Darwin Arch, located in the northern part of the archipelago, fell as a “consequence of natural erosion,” according to Ecuador’s Ministry of the Environment.
Images of the structure, which now only consists of two pillars, were posted on the ministry’s social media accounts on Monday along with a statement confirming the news.
We inform that today May 17, the collapse of the Darwin Arch was reported, the attractive natural bridge located less than a kilometer from the main island Darwin, the northernmost island of the archipelago of #Galapagos. This event would be a consequence of natural erosion.
📷Héctor Barrera pic.twitter.com/lBZJWNbgHg
– Ministry of Environment and Water of Ecuador (@Ambiente_Ec) May 17, 2021
“The collapse of the Darwin Arch, the attractive natural bridge located less than a kilometer from the main area of Darwin Island, was reported,” the ministry said in the statement.
“Darwin’s Arch is made of natural stone that at one time would have been part of Darwin Island, which cannot be visited by land.”
The arch, named after the English biologist Charles Darwin, is considered one of the best diving spots in the archipelago of the Pacific Ocean that is part of Ecuador and is located hundreds of kilometers off the coast of the country.
This place, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and known for its many endemic animal and plant species, inspired Darwin’s famous theory of evolution.
The tourist company Aggressor Adventures, which organizes group trips to various destinations around the world, indicated in a post shared on Facebook that one of their tour groups witnessed the incident.
“Unfortunately today, our guests at the Galapagos Aggressor III have experienced a once-in-a-lifetime event,” the company shared.
“This morning at 11:20 a.m. local time, the world-famous Darwin Arch collapsed before his eyes.
“Some in the dive and travel industry already refer to this now as ‘The Pillars of Evolution.’ We will miss this iconic place.