Has one of America’s most prominent monuments really lost some stature? That appears to be the case, yet, a deeper understanding of the situation will show that science had a lot to do with the determination of this fact.
When the memorial was erected in 1884, it measured 555 feet and 5 and 1/8 inches tall. When an earthquake shook the D.C. area, in 2011, it damaged a few parts of the structure. Preservationists at the time wanted to determine how much the monument sank into the ground over the years and as a result of the quake. Scaffolding was constructed around the monument to fix the cracks and the National Geodetic Survey saw this as the perfect opportunity to record a new measurement because they gained access to the tip.
A sensor beacon was set at the top of the Washington Monument and they were able to record a current measurement of 554 inches and 7 and 11/32 inches tall. The memorial has “shrunk” a total of ten inches. Now, this may not seem like such a major difference, but the government now has a specific measurement in which to compare all future monuments and memorials.
In reality, the tools in which scientists measure have changed drastically over the years and , in fact, are still not as advanced as they are going to one day be. Also, the standards have changed from the point on the ground they measure from. Just as time changes everything, the monument is changing and so are the scientific methods in which we use to compile data.
To read more about the new measurements, click here.
To watch a short video, click here.