Australians mourn changing coastline

June 11th, 2009 - 5:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, June 11 (DPA) Australians were Thursday mourning an irrevocable change to the scenery along the iconic Great Ocean Road tourist drive after the collapse of the handsome Loch Ard Gorge rock formation.
Two rock pillars are what is left of the formerly majestic archway that countless sightseers have photographed.

Each year tens of thousands of tourists cycle or drive the Great Ocean Road - a 300-km scenic route that begins 100 km west of Melbourne and runs through Port Campbell to Warrnambool.

The last big coastal road change was witnessed in July 2005, when one of the large stacks that made up the nearby Twelve Apostles collapsed into the Southern Ocean. The soft limestone formations lose a portion of their bulk to weathering every year.

“You can tell how fragile the coast is,” local Peter Abbott told national broadcaster ABC. “Once it actually hits the water, it basically dissolves, like sugar I guess.”

The gorge got its name from the clipper Loch Ard that in 1878 ran aground close by with the loss of 49 lives.

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