You can be rest assured that the earthquake-hit Washington Monument is not tilting. However, a closer look at the world's tallest obelisk brought National Park Service officials to discover some cracks near the top of the 555-foot monument.
The 5.9-magnitude quake centering in Virginia struck the U.S. East Coast from North Carolina to Toronto early Tuesday afternoon, and cracked one of the stones in the monument's pyramidium, or the pyramid shape at the very top.
The damage was detected during an inspection by helicopter, according to spokesman Bill Line.
While the obelisk remains indefinitely closed, structural engineers plan to do a secondary inspection on the cracked monument Wednesday and decide how to best repair this highest profile structure to suffer damage.
Following the earthquake, rumors buzzed the Internet that the Washington Monument was tilting. The initial Fox News report was picked up by media outlets as well as Twitter, followed up by seismologist John Rundle, who asserted the possibility for the Washington Monument to tilt, suggesting an examination of the obelisk's structure.
However, agency spokesman Jeffrey Olson told the AP on Tuesday that there was absolutely no damage to 127-year old structure.
It stands tall and proud, declared U.S. Park Police Sgt. David Schlosser.
Adam Martin of the Atlantic Wire called the rumor completely fantastic gaining merit, and the public interest is certainly building up.
After a brief shutdown for damage assessment, the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial reopened Tuesday evening.
The earthquake is the largest to ever hit the D.C. area, bettering a previous high of 3.6 in that area. Washington D.C. was experiencing major issues with phone communications, as the area's systems were overwhelmed.
The earthquake rattled buildings in downtown Washington, D.C., causing parts of the Pentagon, White House and to evacuate.
The nation's capital saw mild damage to some of its buildings, including the well-known National Cathedral church. CNN reported the Church experienced damage to its central pole, and a National Cathedral spokesman confirmed to The New York Times that at least three pinnacles on the central tower had broken off.
The mild shake and tremble lasted no more than 30 seconds in downtown Washington, D.C., reported the New York Times.
Officials at Reagan National Airport in Washington and JFK International Airport in New York temporarily stopped flights. The control towers at Reagan, JFK and Newark International airports were temporarily evacuated.
Public schools in Washington, D.C. were closed on Wednesday as officials make safety assessments of the 126 school buildings, said city officials.