Technically, it has sunk into the swampland by almost two inches since 1884. But in light of last year’s quake, National Park Service officials are conducting a survey to determine the exact status of D.C.’s currently-shuttered Washington Monument.
And according to the Washington Post, early findings indicate that it may have sunk an extra millimeter or two because of the quake.
“We know that most of this area down here — basically everything from the Washington Monument westward — is constructed on (land)fill. And we know that there is some form of settling, subsidence,” the chief geodetic surveyor, David Doyle, told the newspaper. “The exact rates are small, but over time they can add up and be significant.”
The monument was originally damaged in a 5.8-magnitude earthquake that caused a bit of excitement in the capital and the East Coast last August. Immediately after the quake, a number of reports speculated that the building was tilting — although the Park Service later said that there wasn’t a case of a leaning tower of Washington.
Still, the monument was closed indefinitely for repairs because of cracks caused by the quake, roped off from tourists who would step into its immediate vicinity (although you can still observe it, and the fluttering American flags at its base, from a short distance on the National Mall).
In January, billionaire David Rubenstein donated $7.5 million of his personal fortune to help expedite the repair process for the Washington icon. According to CNN, the repairs process could eventually take a year to complete.