Home>Travel inspiration>Tips + News>Trending News

Powerful Quake Destroys Famed Natural Wonder in Puerto Rico

share this article
Punta Ventana in January 2019 before it fell in January 2020

Photo by Edgar Gracia via AP

Punta Ventana in January 2019 before it fell in January 2020

The Punta Ventana natural arch was a popular tourist draw in the southwest town of Guayanilla.

share this article

One of Puerto Rico’s most popular landmarks collapsed on Monday after a 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the island, the Associated Press reports. The coastal rock formation known as Punta Ventana was a popular tourist draw in the southwest town of Guayanilla, located a 45-minute drive west of Ponce.

The rock formation got its name—which translates to “Window Point” in English—from the rounded window shape the arch resembled. Photos from before and after the earthquake show the significant damage the structure sustained.

Punta Ventana on January 27, 2019 (top), before it fell, and after it fell on January 6, 2020 (bottom)

In addition to destroying Punta Ventana, Monday’s quake unleashed small landslides, caused power outages, and collapsed some homes on the southern coast of the U.S. territory. There were no immediate reports of casualties. 

The 5.8 magnitude quake struck at 6:32 a.m. just south of the island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by a string of smaller quakes, including one that measured magnitude 5 at 10:51 a.m. local time.

Victor Huerfano, director of Puerto Rico’s Seismic Network, told the Associated Press that the quakes are happening as the North American plate and the Caribbean plate “squeeze” Puerto Rico along three faults in the southwest region of the island. While more earthquakes and aftershocks are expected, officials expect them to taper off eventually.

Punta Ventana isn’t the only natural arch to collapse in recent years. In 2017, Malta’s Azure Window rock formation crumbled into the sea due to erosion. 

The Associated Press contributed reporting to this article.

>> Next: The Best Waterfalls in the World

Sign up for the Daily Wander newsletter for expert travel inspiration and tips

Please enter a valid email address.

Read our privacy policy