Eerie Washington Monument Quake Video Released
DC landmark to remain closed indefinitely
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2011 3:19 AM CDT

(Newser) – Debris falls from the ceiling and terrified tourists run for safety in a video released by the National Park Service that shows the moment last month when an earthquake damaged the Washington Monument. The video was taken by a surveillance camera near the top of the 555-foot-tall landmark. Officials say the 5.8-magnitude quake did more damage than they initially realized, and the monument will remain closed indefinitely, the Washington Post reports.

Large pieces of stone were shaken loose by the quake, a "debris field" of fallen mortar has been found at the monument's base, and its elevator has been damaged, officials say. A four-person "difficult access team" from an engineering firm will perform a detailed inspection of the monument's exterior this week, rappelling down each side of the monument and checking every stone for damage.