In a bizarre turn of events, Ecuador’s largest waterfall has suddenly disappeared. The San Rafael Waterfall on the Coca river has been a popular tourist attraction in Ecuador and attracts tons of tourists every year. Surrounded by lush greenery, this captivating landscape cascades brilliantly, with water dropping from as high as 150 m (490 ft), and is a part of the Ecuadorian Amazon near the border with Colombia.
As per the local officials, the reason behind its disappearance might be because of a large sinkhole that opened underneath the river that used to be the source of the falls. It might have led to the mammoth waterfall getting replaced by three streams. However, some experts stated another reason, i.e., that the waterfall disappeared because of a hydroelectric plant that has been constructed nearby, although the area is reportedly seismically active.
As of now, the exact cause behind the disappearance of the waterfall could not be gauged. There is a lot of disagreement over the cause of its disappearance, i.e., whether it has been caused by the construction of the hydro plant, or a natural cause.
Referring to this, Jorge Celi, Director of the National Water Reference Laboratory of the Ikiam Amazon Regional University, said that although such events are not common and occur every 1000 years, he is of the view that this process has been the result of human activities in the basin.
The site is no longer available for tourism and does not feature on the country’s travel website for now. Geologists are still investigating the reason behind its sudden disappearance.