Video Released From Inside D.C. Monument During East Coast Quake

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Gregg Newton / Corbis

The National Park Service has posted online scary footage of visitors on the observation deck of the Washington Monument when the August 23 earthquake shook and damaged the popular attraction.

The tremors – which registered 5.8 on the Richter Scale with the epicenter 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. – has temporarily closed the monument while authorities assess the damage. It will remain shuttered for the foreseeable future.

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Professional climbers will rappel 555 ft. down all four sides of the world’s tallest stone structure on Tuesday to look for signs of external problems. The engineers will be looking for any cracks, as well as small rocks that may have come loose during the earthquake.

“The heaviest damage appears to be concentrated at the very top of the monument, in what is called the pyramidion, where large cracks of up to 1 1/4-inch wide developed through stone and mortar joints,” said Bob Vogel, superintendent of the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

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The National Park Service announced on Monday that officials had completed an interior assessment of the monument and found it structurally sound. But the elevator’s cables were damaged during the drama and will be replaced. Luckily, the actual elevator was luckily at ground level when the shaking began. (via ABC News)