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More earthquake damage found at Washington Monument

August 25, 2011 |  3:54 pm

Washington Memorial damage National Park Service officials discovered additional cracks in the Washington Monument on Thursday, including a prominent fissure along the top pyramid section of the popular landmark.

The monument was closed immediately after the magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia on Tuesday and officials soon afterward discovered cracks in the stone of the 555-foot-tall obelisk.

The park service has brought in an engineering firm to work alongside its structural engineers to assess the damage and determine what repairs must be made to the 122-year-old monument before it is reopened to the public, the agency said.

"The Washington Monument is one of America's most important landmarks and we will do whatever it takes to ensure that it is restored completely and correctly," said Robert A. Vogel, Superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks, in a statement.

The eathquake also caused damage to the National Cathedral and prompted the closure of other memorials and monuments as officials check for damage. The Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and Old Post Office Tower were closed but are now open to the public. Early Thursday, about 1 a.m., Baltimore was shaken by a magnitude 4.5 aftershock of Tuesday’s quake.


A weird day for earthquakes

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Hurricane Irene swells to Category 3 overnight

-- Stephen Ceasar

Photo: A crack in the pyramidion, or uppermost section, of the Washington Monument. Credit: U.S. Park Police Aviation Unit