The Azure Window
The Azure Window at Dwejra was one of the most iconic landmarks of the Maltese Islands. Over the years, it was visited by countless tourists, and provided the background for many pictures and popular cinema and TV series productions.
As a result of rockfall from the underside of the Azure Window’s bridge, its shape gradually evolved from rectangular to arched.
The pillar’s base underwater sustained progressive erosion, becoming considerably weakened until the arch collapsed.
During stormy weather on the 8th of March, 2017 this world-famous natural arch slipped beneath the waves.
The team has now published a three-year study revealing details of the collapse of the Azure Window. The team was led by Professor Joseph Caruana from the Department of Physics and Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy of the University of Malta, with the photogrammetry being led by John Wood.
To carry out the survey, the team employed a purpose-built setup consisting of cameras and powerful lights mounted on Seacraft scooters. The massive effort by voluntary divers who carried out this work during their free time resulted in the collection of thousands of high-resolution images. This enabled the construction of a 3D model of the entire underwater site that hosts the remains of the Azure Window.
Thanks to their project, we can understand and learn more about the Azure Window’s collapse, and the methods that were used can be employed for the study of other sites. The 3D model can help divers with planning their dives at the site, while the general public can get a glimpse of the beauty that has emerged underwater at the former site of the Azure Window.
The Azure Window Survey documentary describes the survey of the underwater remains of the arch, and provides 3D visualisations that help to better understand the collapse.