A new report on the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument details extensive cracking and chipped stones at the top of the 127-year-old structure that make it vulnerable to rain. The report suggests that water could collect on the upper floors during storms. An engineering firm prepared the study after their employees conducted an inspection, which included rappelling down the monument in September… OMG!
The monument has been closed to visitors since a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the nation’s capital on Aug. 23. The report does not estimate how long repairs will take or how much they will cost. The most recent federal spending bill allocates $7.5 million to fix the monument and directs the National Park Service to raise an equal amount through private donations.
The earthquake, along with a magnitude-5.8 quake on the New York–Ontario border in 1944, is the largest to have occurred in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains since an 1897 quake centered in Giles County in western Virginia whose magnitude has been estimated as 5.8 or 5.9. Minor damage to buildings was widespread. The damage was estimated by one risk-modeling firm at $200 million to $300 million, of which about $100 million was insured.