A series of devastating earthquakes struck off the coast of Puerto Rico on Monday and Tuesday, leaving homes damaged, without power and toppling Punta Ventana — the island’s beloved natural rock formation.
The destruction started on Monday when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks hit, The Miami Herald reported, collapsing the well-known site that translates as “Window Point” that offered visitors a beautiful frame of the island’s pristine water.
That quake was then followed by several others, the strongest coming in at 6.4-magnitude that struck early Tuesday and knocked out much of Puerto Rico’s power, The New York Times reported. Later, aftershocks of about 5.6, 5.2 and 4.5 magnitude hit as well before a 5.8 magnitude aftershock hit at 7:18 a.m. local time.
Earthquake activity has been occurring since late December, the Times noted.
“This is really sad,” a 22-year-old resident of Guayanilla, told the Miami Herald about the destruction of Punta Ventana. “It was one of the biggest tourism draws of Guayanilla.”
Here’s what to know about Punta Ventana:
Where is Punta Ventana?
The natural rock formation could be found in Guayanilla in the southwestern part of the island, jutting out over the pristine beaches and waters of the Caribbean sea, according to the Puerto Rico tourism board.
What is Punta Ventana?
The rock window sat over the water and offered visitors the chance to look through, framing the beautiful scene and making for dazzling photos. It was one of the biggest draws for tourists in the area and it’s collapse could have potential negative effects for the economy there, according to Newsweek.
How did Punta Ventana collapse?
Punta Ventana had been damaged by previous tremors in the last several days and its hole had been enlarged before Monday’s quake finally collapsed it, Glidden López, identified by The BBC as a press officer for Guayanilla council, wrote in a Facebook post.
"Playa Ventana has collapsed,” he later wrote. “Today our icon rests in everyone's memory."
Mayor Nelson Torres Yordán had a simple and sad refrain when speaking with The New York Times on Monday: “It finally fell.”
What else was damaged in Puerto Rico?
Unfortunately, Punta Ventana was not the only landmark damaged by the string of earthquakes. According to USA Today, the tourism authority in Puerto Rico confirmed that Cueva Ventana, a natural circular limestone formation in the north, and Ruinas del Faro, or Lighthouse Ruins, were also severely damaged.