The International Information Center for Geotechnical Engineers

Monday, 13 March 2017 01:00

Malta’s Azure Window collapses after storm

Malta’s Azure Window collapses after storm Credits: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

The famous rock formation of Malta Island collapsed into the sea on March 8, 2017, due to the heavy storms that hit the area.

The Azure Window - also known as the Dwejra Window - was a 28 m tall natural arch, with a span of about 25 m, laying on the island of Gozo in Malta. The rock arch had been developed gradually through the years due to sea and rain erosion and comprised of Lower Coralline Limestone.

In 2013, a geological study of the site had found that erosion of the popular structure was inevitable; however, it had concluded that the arch was not in imminent danger of collapsing. Geologists taking part in the study had stated that the landmark was likely to survive for the next decades.

Concerns about the arch stability grew over the past year and the local authorities had banned walking across the site; the  fine for lawbreakers was over $1,500. On January, the site's fragility was made much more clear, as rough sea waves broke off a large slab at the base of one of the arch's cliffs.

Heavy storms of the last period finally led to the Azure Window's collapse, taking away not only the top part, but also the side stacks. According to the Environment Minister of Malta, Jose Herrera, several studies had shown that no man-made intervention could have prevented the damage.

The following image pictures the site, where the arch was standing, after the collapse.

Image source: Reuters

Sources: TIMES OF MALTA, NY Times, Reuters

Read 737 times Last modified on Monday, 13 March 2017 14:28

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