The top of Darwin’s Arch, located in the northern part of the archipelago, fell as “a consequence of natural erosion,” according to Ecuador’s environment ministry.
Images of the structure, which now consists of just two pillars, were posted on the ministry’s social media accounts on Monday alongside a statement confirming the news.
“The collapse of Darwin’s Arch, the attractive natural bridge located less than a kilometer from the main area of Darwin Island, has been 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’s Island, which is not open to overland tours. “
Named after English biologist Charles Darwin, the arch is considered one of the best dive sites in the Pacific Ocean archipelago that is part of Ecuador and located hundreds of kilometers off the coast of coasts of the country.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site, known for its many endemic animal and plant species, inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution.
Travel company Aggressor Adventures, which organizes group trips to various destinations around the world, said in a post shared on Facebook that one of its tour groups witnessed the incident.
“Unfortunately, today our guests at the Galapagos Aggressor III experienced a unique event,” the company said.
“This morning at 11:20 am local time, Darwin’s famous Arch collapsed before their eyes.
“Some in the diving and travel industry already refer to this now as ‘the pillars of evolution’. This emblematic site will be missed. “