The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that rippled through Washington, D.C. on Tuesday cracked the Washington Monument and broke loose pieces of the National Cathedral, leading authorities to close the two symbolically and architecturally significant sites.
Visitors were turned away from the Washington Monument, a 555 foot stone obelisk that is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, after the National Park Service reported finding cracks in the triangular stone atop the structure. The monument is shuttered indefinitely while engineers evaluate the extent of the damage.
The [National Park Service] will have structural engineers evaluate the cracks on Wednesday to determine the best way to repair the Monument before it is reopened, the Park Service told The Los Angeles Times.
Three of four spires on the National Cathedral also suffered damage, as the tremors snapped off stones from the ornate structure. The cathedral is an icon of the Gothic style, and is one of the largest cathedrals in the world.
Similar decorative elements on the cathedral's exterior also appear to be damaged. Cracks have appeared in the flying buttresses around the apse at the cathedral's east end, the first portion of the building to be constructed, but the buttresses supporting the central tower seem to be sound, according to a statement released by the cathedral.
The news came as a disappointment to people who have traveled to take in the sights of the nation's capitol.
I was disappointed because this is something I've always wanted to do, Kay Chapman, of Anderson, South Carolina, told The Washington Post.