Engineers are checking the Washington Monument for cracks and other damage caused by the earthquake that hit the U.S. East Coast last month.
The Washington Monument is closed indefinitely to visitors because of damage to the national landmark, the Associated Press reports. National Mall and memorial parks officials told a press conference that they hope to have a timetable for repairs in place by mid-October.
Engineers began rappelling down the sides of the monument on Tuesday, shown in live video on TV news networks, NPR says.
The exterior of the obelisk is being inspected, and following that, the monument will be winterized to prevent further damage during cold weather.
Security camera footage released Monday show tourists scrambling after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the monument's observation deck, the AP says. The monument shook violently for more than three minutes during the Aug. 23 quake.
The 555-foot-tall monument was completed in 1884, and had never been damaged previously by a natural disaster, the AP says.
The quake centered on the state of Virginia but was felt in Washington, where the Pentagon and Capitol were evacuated, as well as in New York, and reportedly as far afield as Georgia and Toronto.