Post-Earthquake Survey on Washington Monument Begins

It cracked and crumbled... but did it sink or tilt?

Tuesday, Mar 13, 2012  |  Updated 7:16 PM EDT
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The Washington Monument cracked and crumbled when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook the nation's capital last year. But did it sink or tilt?

That's what a team of government surveyors is working to find out.

The survey kicked off last week. On Tuesday, they were on the grounds of the 555-foot-tall obelisk, taking measurements from several long-established points known as benchmarks where survey work has been done in the past.

They're not expecting to find any major changes -- perhaps fractions of an inch. But the findings could affect plans for repairing the monument, which is expected to remain closed to visitors until next year.

The monument has sunk about two inches into the ground since it was completed in 1884. It sits on land that was once underwater.


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