Darwin's Arch collapses, famed Galapagos Island rock formation

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May 18 (Reuters) - Darwin's Arch, a famed natural rock formation in the Galapagos Islands that is popular with divers, photographers and cruise-ship tourists, has collapsed from erosion, Ecuadorean environmental officials said on Tuesday.

Photographs posted on social media by Ecuador's Environment Ministry showed rubble from the curvature of the arch visible in the ocean, with the two supporting columns still standing.

"We report that the iconic Arc of Darwin collapsed," the ministry wrote in Spanish on its Facebook page.

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The arch, named for British naturalist Charles Darwin, stands at the northernmost tip of the Galapagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean 600 miles (965 km) west of Ecuador.

Once a part of Darwin's Island, the arch is famed for the variety of underwater life teeming nearby, including schools of hammerhead sharks.

Tourists are not allowed to set foot on the arch or island.

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Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Peter Cooney

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