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The Missouri Miner

Missouri S&T's Student Newspaper
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EST. 1915

Natural Landmarks

Updated: Oct 5, 2018

The Mediterranean island of Malta, has an economy that is largely driven by tourists who are attracted by its sights and landmarks. The Azure Window, a 92 foot tall, natural limestone arch, was one of those landmarks until it unexpectedly fell away into the sea. The night before this incident, there had been a violent storm which ultimately brought about the landmark’s demise. The arch had been photographed millions of times and appeared in many films and TV shows, including Game of Thrones and Clash of the Titans. Now those recordings are all that remains of the natural landmark as the cliff, where the arch was once attached, stands alone. While this event was inevitable and finally brought about by natural causes, it has been noted that tourists have done damage to the arch’s structural integrity by jumping off of it and into the sea below, dislodging pieces in the process. However, the Azure Window is not alone in that as other natural landmarks have also been damaged or destroyed by thoughtless tourists, all looking for a cheap thrill.

The seven foot rock formation, known as the Duckbill, was knocked over by a park visitor, who also had the audacity to upload a film of the incident. Apparently, a friend had broken his leg near the formation and this visitor had taken it upon himself to make sure no one else would do the same. It is worth noting that the area around Duckbill was roped off for this very reason. A similar incident, involving two Boy Scout leaders, was reported regarding a rock formation called Goblin. The two leaders stated that they believed the formation posed a threat to the safety of other visitors, so they shot a video of themselves knocking it over. Fortunately, these incidents are isolated and it is much more common for natural formations to disappear due to natural stresses and the passage of time.

One landmark that has fallen was so recognizable that it was featured on the New Hampshire state quarter. The landmark in question is known as The Old Man of the Mountain, which is an outcropping of rock that resembles a face in profile. Unfortunately, it fell down the side of the mountain it was on back in 2003. The Canary Islands also lost a landmark in 2005 to tropical storm delta. A large basalt sea stack known as “El Dedo De Dios” or “God’s Finger” was blown over during the storm. It seems that it is not uncommon for rare and beautiful, natural formations to be destroyed by natural causes as even the earth is not immune to time.

While we still have photos and memories of these landmarks, no one will ever be able to fully experience them again. While this might seem tragic, if nothing ever came to an end would there be any reason to appreciate it? Even things that seem permanent can be destroyed when nature or man decides that it is time. If there is something you want to see, something you want to do, make sure it happens while it is still a possibility. The whole world is out there waiting to be experienced, but tomorrow is never guaranteed.


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