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Images of the Galápagos Islands' Darwin's Arch before and after the collapse. Photo: Reinhard Dirscherl/ullstein bild via Getty Images/Hector Barrera/Ministry of Environment for Ecuador

Darwin's Arch in the Galápagos Islands, "considered one of the best places on the planet to dive" and observe marine species, has collapsed, the Ministry of Environment for Ecuador has announced.

Why it matters: Although the ministry said the collapse of the 140-feet-high rock formation Monday was due to natural erosion, it casts a spotlight on a region that the United Nations has classified as "one of the world's most vulnerable places to the effects of climate change," per the New York Times.

Of note: The tourist attraction and the nearby Darwin Island are named after the scientist Charles Darwin, whose study of species in the volcanic archipelago helped solidify his theory of evolution.

  • But "warming waters" pose a grave threat to the species that Darwin observed, the NYT notes.

Threat level: The UNESCO World Heritage-listed islands are at the "intersection of three ocean currents and are vulnerable to the El Niño weather system, which causes rapid warming of Pacific Ocean waters," the Times reports.

  • Another Pacific island, Easter Island, southeast of the Galápagos archipelago, known for its moai statues, is already facing the threats of sea-level rise, coastal inundation and erosion, according to a UNESCO report.

Go deeper

UN report: Effects of climate change even more severe than we thought

A wildfire burns in a forest over the village of Gouves, on the island of Evia, Greece, on Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021. (Konstantinos Tsakalidis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Global warming is happening so fast that scientists now say we'll cross a crucial temperature threshold as early as 2030 — up to a decade sooner than previously thought — according to a sweeping new UN-sponsored review of climate science published Monday.

The big picture: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations were higher in 2019 than at any time in at least 2 million years, and the past 50 years saw the fastest temperature increases in at least 2,000 years, according to the new assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Parkland shooting victims' families settle suit with school district

A makeshift memorial outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, on Feb. 14, 2020. Photo: Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Families and survivors of a 2018 mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., reached a $25 million settlement in their lawsuit against the Broward County school district Monday, per the South Florida SunSentinel.

Why it matters: The deal was reached in the suit over the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High after the school district won a Florida Supreme Court ruling that could have capped damages at $300,000 in total without approval from the state legislature, AP notes.

Texas Republicans pass new congressional maps in their favor

Photo: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Texas House voted 84-59 late Monday to approve new congressional district maps that reduce the number of districts with Black and Hispanic majorities, per the Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: The legislation comes after recent census figures found Texas' growing diverse population doesn't bode well for Republicans, who then worked to protect incumbents with the redrawn maps.