March 18, 2012- Surveyors are studying whether or not the earthquake from last year caused the Washington Monument to sink. The 5.8 earthquake helped to crack the monument and shake the nation’s capital. Now it seems that it may have caused the monument to sink a fraction of an inch.
Surveyors were on the monument grounds last week to investigate the 555-foot tall monument. The surveyors measured the obelisk from a number of predetermined points known as benchmarks. Surveys have been performed in the past using those same points.
The surveyors said they did not expect to see any great changes, but a fraction or two of an inch was possible. The findings may change the plans that are in place for making repairs on the monument. The monument is currently closed to visitors and is not expected to re-open until 2013 after repairs are completed.
The monument is located at about 15 feet above sea level. Since 1884 when it was completed, the obelisk has sunk about two inches. It is located on an area of land that was once submerged in water.
The majority of the structures located in the National Mall are on land that was filled by soil taken from the Potomac River. Therefore, many of them, such as the Reflecting Pool and the Jefferson Memorial, have had to go through major renovations.