Double trouble for Washington Monument: more cracks

09/01/2011 10:29

UPI:  WASHINGTON, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Hurricane Irene revealed new cracks in the Washington Monument, which was already closed following the Virginia earthquake, the National Parks Service said.

Spokeswoman Carol Johnson told CNN Wednesday Parks Service employees found standing water in the monument when they inspected it Monday. She said engineers tried to find holes following last week's 5.8 magnitude earthquake and in advance of the hurricane.

"There were some leaks that we were not able to identify or able to plug," Johnson said. "What happened was a lot of mortar popped out, so much so that you can see sunlight above 450 feet in the monument."

The monument has been closed until all damage is repaired. Johnson said engineers determined the earthquake caused no structural damage.

The 555-foot memorial to George Washington, the first U.S. president, was built over several decades in the mid-19th century.

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