The Azure Window, a beautiful limestone arch located on the Maltese island of Gozo, has collapsed into the sea following heavy evening storms.
Residents and tourists on the island flocked to social media this morning to share photos of where the Azure Window once stood. As you can see here, the destruction was substantial and little of the original rock formation remains.
The destruction of the Azure Window, created after two limestone sea caves collapsed, is not a complete surprise to geologists. Over the last 30 years, 90 percent of its lower layers had fallen into the sea. According to Atlas Obscura, tourism officials even had a plan in place to rename the site the "Azure Pinnacle" after the window collapsed. (One optimistic geology report from 2013 predicted that the ocean pillar might survive well into the future, but that was not the case.)
"Reports commissioned over the years indicated that this landmark would be hard hit by unavoidable natural corrosion," Malta's prime minister Joseph Muscat announced on Twitter. "That sad day arrived."
Now that both the pillar and arch are gone, officials will see if the Blue Hole, a popular dive site near the site, has in any way been impacted by the collapse.
Thanks for the memories
Even if you never had a chance to visit the Azure Window, you may have spied it in several Hollywood productions. The arch was featured in HBO's hit drama "Game of Thrones," as well as such films as "Clash of the Titans," "The Count of Monte Cristo" and "The Odyssey."
As you can see below, the site was also popular with cliff jumpers, a sport that officials had attempted to curb with fines in recent years.
With the Azure Window now gone, perhaps another not-so-famous arch on the island called Wied il-Mielah will gain the respect it deserves.