An iconic Lexington County rock formation has fallen, and officials aren't surprised.
Peachtree Rock, which stood for ages in an extraordinary upside-down pyramid fashion, is now lying on its side.
The sandstone formation is located in Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve on Highway 6 near Edmund.
WIS viewers started sending in photos of the toppled rock on Sunday.
The rock's strange configuration was a result of the erosion of lower layers of rock and sand, with the upper layers of hard, coarse-grained sandstone eroding at a slower rate, according to the Nature Conservancy of South Carolina.
"It was inevitable at some point that that was going to happen," said Colette DeGarady, Senior Conservation Ecologist, SC Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. "It was eroding over time."
DeGarady says the bottom part of the formation had been disappearing, but the rock had also been vandalized in the recent past. "In the past year, we have had some varying amounts of vandalism that increased the rate of erosion," said DeGarady. "At some point in time it was going to go down on its own."
Lexington County Sheriff's deputies, according to DeGarady, have been patrolling the parking lot at night to keep an eye out for possible vandals.
At this point, officials don't have any evidence a single human act brought the rock down. DeGarady said rain has been the largest factor in the natural erosion of the formation.
The state Department of Natural Resources already has a good explanation of what may have happened.
"The rock out-cropping itself is many millions of years old. We can safely say that particular one through erosion and so forth, is several hundred years old," said Brett Witt, spokesman for the SC Department of Natural Resources.
But if you want the truth as to what the rock means to the area, just ask a kid.
"You're going to see it. It's going to be terrible," said Daniel Garcia, 12. "I was just shocked right there. It just stopped my heart a little bit."
Experts say it's likely a combination of people picking at the rock and natural erosion that caused it to topple. No matter what the reason, people who love Peachtree Rock, say it's hard to see it on its side.
"I was kind of sad because it was the pride of this town and I was just amazed, " said Garcia.
"It's sort of like watching the passing of something that we're not going to see its like again," explained Witt.
The rock will stay as is, but many wish it didn't have to be this way.
"I just want to see it up to again, just like one last time again," said Garcia.
Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve comprises 460 acres and is co-managed by The Nature Conservancy and the Department of Natural Resources.
For more information on Peachtree Rock Heritage Preserve, click here.
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