[credit provider=”US Navy” url=”http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:WashMonument_WhiteHouse.jpg”]
Engineers inspecting the Washington Monument on Tuesday found cracks at the top of the 555-foot obelisk which will keep it closed to visitors indefinitely, the Associated Press reports.The damage, likely caused by the 5.8 earthquake that struck central Virginia, was located toward the top of the landmark — though there does not appear to be any damage to the base, a National Parks Service spokesman told the AP.
Crews will conduct further examination of the cracks to in the 91,000 ton marble structure on Wednesday to determine their seriousness and possible strategies for repair.
rumours spread in the hours after the earthquake that the icon was “tilting” — though they proved false. Most government buildings in Washington were evacuated after the tremor, with older buildings and landmarks like the U.S. Capitol undergoing hours-long inspections to ensure they were safe to reenter.
The monument is located just south of the White House on the National Mall — and normally hosts tourists on tours to the observation level, providing picturesque views of the nation’s capital.