Washington Monument closed indefinitely for repair after earthquake

By Kase Wickman
Wednesday, August 24, 2011 9:55 EDT
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The Washington Monument, the tallest structure in Washington, D.C., is closed indefinitely for repairs after engineers found a crack near the top, caused by yesterday’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia.

The 550-foot obelisk was circled by Park Service helicopters Tuesday afternoon to check for damage. Fox News first reported that the monument was tilting as a result of the earthquake, but that was quickly refuted by Sgt. David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police, who told NBC Washington that the reports of leaning were “absolutely incorrect.”

“It stands tall and proud,” he said.

An agency spokesman who said there was “absolutely no damage” to the monument had to eat his words soon after, when a secondary inspection revealed cracks near the top of the 80,000-ton structure.

Engineers are assessing the monument’s structural integrity and mulling repairs. A further 100 feet beyond the edge of the plaza it sits on has been closed off from visitors.

The National Cathedral, another D.C. landmark, was also damaged during the earthquake.

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
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