[WATCH] Rocks fall off picturesque Azure Window after cliff jumper dive

Gozo’s picturesque Azure Window loses another chunk as large rocks come off after cliff jumper ignores warnings and jumps off landmark

danielmizzi
Daniel Mizzi
27 November 2016, 10:33am
Large rocks came off the iconic Azure Window after a man ignored warnings and jumped off the landmark
Large rocks came off the iconic Azure Window after a man ignored warnings and jumped off the landmark
 

Gozo’s iconic Azure Window lost another chunk as a video uploaded yesterday showed large rocks coming off as a cliff jumper jumped off the landmark, ignoring signs clearly prohibiting anyone from walking across the arch.

The structure has been collapsing rapidly with geologists warning of deep fissures in the rock. Several large rocks fell off in recent years, the most serious being in 2012 following the collapse of a large triangular slab. 

In 2013, a geological rock assessment into the stability of the Azure Window confirmed that the picturesque natural arch is a short-lived geological feature: in a nutshell, its collapse is inevitable.

The Azure Window in the 1880s • Photo: Bay Retro
The Azure Window in the 1880s • Photo: Bay Retro
The picturesque Azure Window in 1981 during the filming of Clash of the Titans
The picturesque Azure Window in 1981 during the filming of Clash of the Titans
The report by Geologist Peter Gatt had recommended that the area be declared a geopark, a unified area with geological heritage of international significance.

In August, the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) said it would install a webcam to monitor the Azure Window in Gozo, after it was revealed that the Gozo Tourism Association and the San Lawrenz council lack the resources to monitor the area.

Despite improved signage on the site at Dwejra, as well additional information on the MTA’s website, tourists and visitors still walk on it, risking further collapse.

Dothraki by the Azure Window: an environmental fiasco had sent Game of Thrones away from Malta in 2010, its corresponding locations swapped with Croatia for subsequent seasons of the HBO show
Dothraki by the Azure Window: an environmental fiasco had sent Game of Thrones away from Malta in 2010, its corresponding locations swapped with Croatia for subsequent seasons of the HBO show
The iconic Azure Window today
The iconic Azure Window today
The Azure Window’s location, right at the edge of the Dwejra cliffs, leaves it totally exposed to the elements, especially the rough sea which beats upon it incessantly, particularly in winter.

Recent Seismic activity in the areas surrounding Malta has also fuelled concerns that the landmark could be further damaged.

Geologist Peter Gatt had recommended that crack meters be installed at the Azure Window to monitor monthly cracks along the arch, and that navigation and swimming under and around the window remain prohibited,

Gatt had said that rock bolts to secure the arch are not recommendable. Instead small rock bolts at the edge of the arch that is prone to rock fall could be installed, although this intervention could be dangerous.

danielmizzi
Daniel Mizzi reports from the law courts.