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This morning the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change Leo Brincat, was presented with a report by Geologist Peter Gatt, on the status of the Azure Window in Dwejra, also known as Tieq Zerqa.
Geoscience Consulting had been commissioned to report on the stability of the Azure Window, as well as detailed analysis of the layers of rock that makes up the window.
Results show that over the last 30 years, as much as 90% of the bottom layer had fallen, however, the top layer remained stable. However, the window is stable and shows no sign of imminent collapse the assessment said.
Dr Gatt said that the large triangular block which fell off one side of the arch in 2012 had not increased the length of the arch and in turn, had not affected the stability of the arch. He said that the study had dismissed earlier recommendations of bolting the arch to increase stability. “This would have caused further damage because the rock was soft.”
The report recommends monitoring cracks that are developing at the bottom of the window. Three blocks of rock have been identified for potential collapses, with one likely to affect the arch, one would actually lessen its load and one may affect the stability of the overlying arch in its area.
The Minister on his part said that the “analysis and recommendations made in this report will be scrutinized thoroughly to ensure the necessary action is taken so that our country, particularly Gozo, continues to enjoy this geological gem.” The implementation of a monitoring system would be discussed with the Ministry for Gozo.
“It is important that the geological heritage of the islands is regarded as important as the heritage of flora and fauna, the Minister said.
“There are a number of sites in the Maltese islands which may be protected as sites of geological importance. Something that can be taken into consideration is that it is given the status of a ‘geopark,’ ie a park where the unique geological features can be protected for the public to visit..