Galápagos Islands' iconic Darwin's Arch rock structure has collapsed

Darwin's Arch, an iconic rock formation in the Pacific Ocean near the Galapagos Islands, has collapsed. The structure was notable for its jutting, squared pillars, and rounded tunnel-like entrance, making it a popular photography attraction and sightseeing destination for tourists. Officials believe the arch collapsed due to natural erosion.

Darwin's Arch was a naturally-formed archway found in the ocean a few hundred miles from the Ecuadorean coast. Officials in the nation have confirmed that the archway collapsed into the ocean between the two pillars, which are much thicker and remain standing. The collapse was confirmed yesterday, May 17.

The archway was located within a mile of Darwin Island; both it and the rock formation were named after famed scientist Charles Darwin. The Galapagos Islands played a big role in Darwin's scientific study and had an influence on his eventual theory of evolution.

Though naturally-formed rock archways are prone to eventually collapsing from natural erosion, an uptick in tourists at the islands has raised concerns over potential damage to the remote location and the variety of species that live there.

The Galapagos Islands aren't only under threat from a growing number of tourists, however. Scientists have warned that this remote destination is also quite vulnerable to climate change, particularly if El Nino events become more common. The change in rainfall, sea temperatures, and more could substantially impact the diverse ecosystems found on the islands, putting them at risk of collapse.

Image via Wikipedia