Fortunately, no major damage has been reported after a surprise 5.9 earthquake in Virginia shook up the east coast, but there have been reports of minor structural damage – the Washington Monument being one of them.
In the excitement of yesterday’s events, rumors were starting to spread that the Washington Monument had been tilted as a result of the quake. That doesn’t appear to be the case, but crews surveying the monument from a helicopter did spot several cracks on the northern end of the uppermost portion of the monument.
As of now, officials have yet to determine the full extent of the damage but, at least for now, the damage appears to be only cosmetic and minor. As a precaution, the Washington Monument will be closed off “indefinitely” until structural engineers are able to assess the situation.
Fortunately, other monuments in the area appear to be completely intact. The Lincoln Memorial and Jefferson Memorial were both shut down shortly after the quake, but they were both reopened after inspections determined that neither site had suffered any damage.
The relatively mild 5.9 quake may not have meant much to those on the west coast, but you can’t blame people for being shaken up when you consider that the August 24 earthquake was the largest ever recorded in the Washington D.C. area, handily beating the old record of 3.6.
As of now, there’s no word on when the Washington Monument will be opened again.