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Washington Monument inspection finished

Oct. 6, 2011 at 2:01 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- The most significant damage to the Washington Monument from the Virginia earthquake is near the top of the tower, the National Parks Service says.

The 127-year-old monument has been getting a close-up look from inspectors dangling from ropes to examine each block individually, tapping stones gently with mallets, The Washington Post reported.

The inspection was finished Wednesday.

Once a detailed report is available, officials will have to decide on remedial work.

"She's kind of an old lady," said Jennifer Talken-Spaulding, chief of resource management with the National Mall and Memorial Parks. "But she's doing great."

The 555-foot monument was shaken by the 5.8-magnitude quake, with damage visible immediately afterward from helicopters.

"We found several corner cracks and surface spalls at or near the top of the monument," said Daniel J. Lemieux, an architect with the firm that conducted the inspection. "Classic shear-cracking ... the kind of cracking we would expect to find with the movement that probably occurred up there during the earthquake. The fracture planes on the stone are very clean, which also suggests that they occurred recently and are likely the result of the earthquake."

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