An impressive video uploaded on social media by diver Konrad Baar shows the state of the Azure Window at the moment under water, watch the video below:
W styczniu 2017 roku silny sztorm częściowo uszkodził Azure Window, a 8 marca kolejny sztorm sprawił, że atrakcja turystyczna Malty przestała istnieć. Dziś jest już atrakcją wyłącznie dla nurków. Oto krótki film z tego miejsca. Na filmie pojawiają się Philipp Breicha oraz Tomek Fotek.
Posted by Konrad Baar on Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Footage credits : Konrad Baar, Philipp Breicha, Tomek Fotek, Footage shared is being used under facebook’s terms of service.
The Azure Window (Maltese: it-Tieqa Żerqa), also known as the Dwejra Window (Maltese: it-Tieqa tad-Dwejra), was a 28-metre-tall (92 ft) limestone natural arch on the island of Gozo in Malta. It was located in Dwejra Bay, within the limits of San Lawrenz, close to the Inland Sea and the Fungus Rock, and was one of Malta’s major tourist attractions. The arch, together with other natural features in the area, has appeared in a number of international films and media productions.
The formation was created by the collapse of a sea cave, probably during the 19th century. It consisted of a pillar of rock rising from the sea and joined to the cliff by a horizontal slab. Following decades of natural erosion that caused parts of the arch to fall into the sea, the slab and pillar collapsed completely in stormy weather on 8 March 2017.
Between the 1980s and the 2000s, parts of the top slab of the arch collapsed, significantly widening the arch. A large slab of rock on the outer edge of the cavity collapsed in April 2012, further increasing the size of the window. Another rock fall occurred in March 2013. Four months later a geological and geotechnical report was prepared by Dr Peter Gatt, who represented local firm Geoscience Consulting Ltd, and it determined that the arch was “relatively stable and will continue to remain so for a number of years”, and that there was no “imminent” risk of collapse, although it warned that rock falls will continue and it might be hazardous for people to go close to the arch.
The arch collapsed at about 9:40 am local time (8:40 am UTC) on 8 March 2017 after a period of heavy storms, leaving nothing visible above the water. The pillar gave way first, causing the top part of the arch to collapse along with it. The pillar shattered into large chunks of rock as it collapsed. The collapse was said to have been inevitable.
The collapse was reported in both local and international media. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Leader of the Opposition Simon Busuttil both tweeted about the collapse of the Azure Window, and it also became the subject of many Internet memes on Maltese social media. The Environment and Resources Authority called the collapse a major loss to Malta’s natural heritage. The Church’s Environment Commission said that the collapse should make the Maltese people reflect on their national heritage. The San Lawrenz local council urged the government to establish a management plan for the entire Dwejra area, which includes several other notable features despite the loss of the Azure Window.
On the day of the collapse, police appealed to the public not to visit the area. Diving in the area was temporarily banned, although this was not enforced and footage of the remains of the arch underwater emerged a few days after the collapse. The remains of the arch have formed a number of features which have been called a “divers’ paradise”, although it is still advised to keep away from the area until surveys and inspections are carried out.
The image below shows the azure window before and after the collapse:
Following the collapse, Dr Gatt said that following his report, he had requested the arch and pillar to be monitored over a long period of time, in a bid to study the area and establish whether the pillar supporting the arch was moving, “but there wasn’t any follow-up and the condition of the pillar remained unknown.”
On 9 March, the government announced that it would launch an international initiative on the future of Dwejra. The options being considered include leaving the site as is, retrieving the remains of the window from the seabed and exhibiting them, creating an artificial or an augmented reality reconstruction of the window, establishing an interpretation centre or creating an art installation at the site. The government stated that the rock formation will not be rebuilt.