WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The Washington Monument's elevator system was damaged in the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck central Virginia, the National Park Service said Monday.
The elevator, believed damaged by its counterweights during the Aug. 23 quake, is operating only to the 250-foot level of the 555-foot obelisk near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C., park officials said.
The quake created cracks in at least four exterior stones, which let rainwater into the monument's stairwells above the 400-foot level when Hurricane Irene overwhelmed the nation's capital four days later, officials said.
The monument, closed since the quake, will be closely examined by mountaineering and rope-rigging ranger Brandon Latham from Alaska's Denali National Park and Preserve, who will rappel down the monument's sides for the inspections, The Washington Post reported.
The marble, granite and bluestone gneis monument, completed in 1884, is the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk.