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Baltic Island Landmark Topples into Sea

January 14, 1988

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ One of Denmark’s best-known landmarks, a natural chalk spire formation called Sommerspiret, toppled into the Baltic Sea during the night, reports said Thursday.

The 336-feet-high formation on the island of Moen was the most spectacular point along an five-mile stretch of gleaming white chalk cliffs gracing the island’s coast.

The cliffs, which are called Moen’s Klint, were formed about 75 million years ago as the last ice age receded and the sea bottom rose.

″The mild winter is to blame for Sommerspiret’s collapse,″ said Peter Olav Olsen, tourist chief for the island.″According to the experts, large amounts of rainwater undermine the cliff’s foundations, and when temperatures hover at the freezing point, there are landslides.″

Because of the likelihood of more landslides, authorities are warning people to stay off the beaches below the cliffs.

″Every school pupil in Denmark knows Sommerspiret, and it is the first point of interest foreign tourists ask for when they come to Moen,″ Olsen said.

He said hundreds of thousands of tourist brochures would have to be revised following Sommerspiret’s disappearance.

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