Australia's Wedding Cake Rock may collapse into the sea
Posted: Jun 27, 2015 5:16 PM CDT | Updated: Dec 2, 2015 5:19 PM CDT
(CNN) -- It looks as if someone has made a cut in a wedding cake, but no one is celebrating.With visible fractures observed in Australia's Wedding Cake Rock formation, the country's National Parks and Wildlife Service has warned visitors to stay away from the beloved attraction located along Sydney's Royal Coast Walk.
A recently completed geotechnical assessment of the formation's condition shows that the rock is \"precariously balancing on the edge of the cliff and severely undercut,\" according to an NPWS news release.
The service says the entire rock formation could collapse anytime within a decade.
\"We have now received the results and the report is clear -- standing on the rock platform risks a truly tragic outcome,\" said Gary Dunnett of the NPWS in New South Wales.
No more stunt shots on the rock
\"We will now take action to create a new and safer way to allows visitors to take in the beauty of the site without compromising their safety,\" said Dunnett.
\"This will likely mean a new viewing platform further back from the edge that will allow people to safely take those incredible shots of the rock formation that have become internationally recognizable.
\"This is not about closing the site, it is about making it a safe place to visit and enjoy the view.\"
Many posts on social media link the closure to the recent surge of interest of the rock, prompting daredevils to take risky photos near the edge.
In 2014, a 23-year-old university student fell to his death from the rock.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, \"he was believed to be hanging from the edge when the soft rock crumbled.\"
Park officials say the fractures are part of a natural process, but stress that visitors shouldn't go near cliff edges.
\"The fractures on the rock could date back hundreds and potentially thousands of years,\" a spokesperson for the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage tells CNN.
\"It's part of the normal process of rocks being worn over time by the elements and a result of the rock geology.
\"All visitors to national parks or other coastal headlands are warned to stay well away from cliff edges.\"
New viewing platform
No one's arguing against safety but restricted access will be a loss for creative Instagrammers -- especially if these photos are anything to go by.
Wedding Cake Rock is named for the squared, silky white surface of the cliff, which is said to resemble the creamy outer layer of a cake.
The white color is actually an indication that the structure of the rock has been weakened as its iron content has been leached away.
The formation is one of the major attractions along the 26-kilometer Royal National Park Coast Walk.
Other landmarks along the walk include Captain Cook's Landing Place and the dramatic Maddens Falls in Dharawal National Park.