A famous natural attraction in northern Taiwan, the Elephant Trunk Rock, is no more. According to the Ruifang District Office in New Taipei City, the rock formation, which got its name from its resemblance to an elephant trunk, collapsed into the sea on Saturday. Part of the “elephant’s trunk” disintegrated and broke off from the rest of the structure owning to long periods of seawater erosion and natural weathering, the office said on Facebook, adding that the site is now closed to visitors.
“Due to long-term Okinawa and natural weathering, the Elephant Nose rock body was partially broken. The original vision of the elephant nose has been lost. Due to the current geological and weather instability near the elephant nasal rock body, it is now closed and closed. I urge the public not to go again!!” officials wrote on Facebook while sharing the images of the broken rock formation.
Elephant Trunk Rock is located on a narrow strip of land called Shen’ao. It has been a popular tourist attraction for many years, with visitors scaling its “head” for photo opportunities. According to The Straits Times, the area was once a military-protected zone and it opened to the public in 2000. However, in 2010, the Ruifang District Office cordoned off the area to dissuade visitors from climbing on the rock formation.
Shen Chuan-chou, a professor in the Department of Geosciences at National Taiwan University, said that the rock formation has long been at risk due to erosion. It was “natural” for the rock to collapse because it was constantly affected by seawater and wind, he said, as per CNN. The rock’s thin arched shape also made it more precarious, the professor added.
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Meanwhile, Elephant Trunk Rock wasn’t the only natural structure in Taiwan that geologists have been concerned about. The “Queen’s Head” rock, which resembles a bust of Queen Elizabeth with a long slender neck, is also at risk of collapse, according to the outlet. Taiwan’s official Central News Agency has said that the circumference of the Queen’s Head is now lower than 120 centimetres and is getting thinner every year.
Additionally, the Maltese island of Gozo has coped with a similar situation in the past. Its famous limestone “Azure Window” collapsed into the sea in 2017.