, hurricane on the way
by Jack Minor –
The Washington Monument will be closed indefinitely, after engineers found a crack near the top of the structure following Tuesday’s earthquake just 84 miles outside the city.
The National Park Service said the closing was necessary to keep the public safe. The 5.8 magnitude earthquake also damaged three of the four towers at the National Cathedral.
A statement posted on the Cathedral’s web site said “The historic Washington National Cathedral sustained substantial damage in this quake. Experts are tirelessly working to assess the building damage—both structurally and aesthetically.”
Earthquakes in the Washington D.C. area are considered rare. The first quake that may have affected some sections of the area occurred on April 24, 1758. The United States Geological Survey says its center may have been near Annapolis, Maryland.
Another earthquake in 1828 was felt over seven Eastern States and the District of Columbia. President John Quincy Adams recorded the event in his diary.
“March 9, 1828. There was this evening the shock of an earthquake, the first which I ever distinctly noticed at the moment when it happened. I was writing in this book, when the table began to shake under my hand and the floor under my feet. The window shutters rattled as if shaken by the wind, and there was a momentary sensation as of the heaving of a ship on the waves. It continued about two minutes, then ceased. It was about eleven at night. I immediately left writing, and went to my bedchamber, where my wife was in bed, much alarmed.”
Another shock in September 1884 near Columbus, Ohio, was felt by workers on top of the then unfinished Washington Monument.
The Washington Monument is the tallest stone structure and obelisk in the world. Construction began in 1848 and was not completed until 1884. One of the main reasons for the delay was the American Civil War.
Following Tuesday’s earthquake, the eastern seaboard including Washington and New York was placed on alert for Hurricane Irene, which could strike the coast this weekend.
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