For the second time in a year, one of the most famous natural sites in the Maritimes changed forever.
Elephant Rock—one of the most photographed cliff formations in the Bay of Fundy—collapsed on Monday morning. It was part of New Brunswick’s Hopewell Rocks, which attract thousands of visitors each year. The rock is so iconic, in fact, that it’s even featured on the province’s Medicare card.
Park officials say that approximately 100 to 200 tonnes of the rock fell to the ground, just months after the Bay of Fundy’s beloved sea arch collapsed.
According to reports, some time after the tide went out on Monday morning, a significant piece of Elephant Rock calved off, closing off a large passageway where visitors once walked during low tide.
The rocks and passageways between have been formed by the Bay of Fundy’s tides, which are the highest in the world, reaching up to 50 feet or 16 metres. Over time, they’ve carved very distinct and unusual sandstone formations—some of which are topped with trees—giving rise to the name Flowerpot Rocks.
While the collapse of Elephant Rock is the result of this ongoing erosion, according to the park’s Facebook page, rising spring temperatures mixed with cold nights made it a particularly “volatile time for the rock.”
“It’s certainly sad and humbling to see us lose one of our named formations, or at least lost its identity,” Kevin Snair, supervisor of interpretive services at the Hopewell Rocks, told CBC News. “But it’s also very exciting.”
“The whole park is formed by this exact action that happened today, so to be able to see that this is still happening, and the park is still evolving, it’s a beautiful thing, despite the loss,” Snair added.
Luckily, Elephant Rock is just one of 17 formations, so there’s still lots to see when the park opens up again in May.