Washington Monument

The 5.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the Eastern Seaboard yesterday thankfully caused minimal injuries and fairly little damage, but not everything got off scot-free. One of the quake’s victims was the Washington Monument, which suffered apparently minor cracking at its very top.

The Monument is closed for the moment while the Parks Service investigates and repairs the damage, but it doesn’t sound too serious.

Other monuments in the past haven’t been so lucky. A few severe earthquakes early in the last millennium heavily damaged the Great Lighthouse and left it a heap of rubble. It had already stood for well over a thousand years, which is a pretty good run. The Colossus, another one of the ancient Wonders of the World, didn’t last nearly so long – an earthquake toppled it less than a hundred years after its construction. The Mausoleum’s destruction is less clear, but an earthquake seems the likely culprit as well. Likewise for the Hanging Gardens (if they existed!).

Only three Wonders escaped death by earthquake – the Statue of Zeus and the Temple of Artemis were both burned and looted. And the Pyramids, of course, still stand.

The Washington Monument is in good company.

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