What it's like to be trapped in the Washington Monument during an earthquake

Last month's earthquake in Virginia rattled the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument such that it's been closed indefinitely so engineers can assess damage. Buildings all across the Eastern Seaboard were rocked on August 23, but the Monument's security camera footage shows that people visiting the famous obelisk had a particularly harrowing experience.

Fears of structural instability, holes in the Monument's exterior, and a malfunctioning elevator have shuttered the Monument for now. Explains The Washington Post:

The Park Service had preliminarily said the quake caused some cracks in the stone, which resulted in water leaks when Hurricane Irene came through Washington a few days after the quake.

A team of engineers planned to start a block-by-block inspection of the exterior Tuesday while suspended by ropes. An inspection of the interior is finished, [Mall superintendent Bob] Vogel said.

He said the worst damage happened in the pyramidium, the pyramid-shaped top of the structure, where cracks up to 1 1/ 4 inches wide developed in the mortar and stone. "Daylight is visible at a number of the vertical joints where mortar is missing," he said.

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