New measurement reveals Washington Monument is 10 inches shorter


The US monument, which was dedicated to America’s first president, was re-measured to international standards set by the Council of Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. Government surveyors revealed that the monument has been revised by 10 inches downwards, making the new ‘architectural’ height 555 feet, 5 and 1/8 inches tall, but still remaining as the tallest obelisk in the world.

Engineers were able to use modern technology in order to determine a more accurate height for the monument and are now thought to have measured from the open-air pedestrian entrance used by those on luxury escorted tours of America, to the structure’s peak.

Original measurements were taken in 1884 upon the completion of the monument, although the exact base point is unknown. It has been confirmed that the monument has not changed in height, but was just measured from a different area. Scientists have since suggested that caution should be taken when comparing the new height to the historic one, as it is not possible to determine the original point.

The change in height is much less than speculated

It has also been speculated that the monument may have been sinking, as well as potentially being eroded by lightning strikes over the years. Therefore, it is thought that the actual difference in height over the past 130 years is actually just three-eighths of an inch. It was decided that the monument would be re-measured while refurbishments were taking place to cracks that had appeared, as scaffolding had been erected and meant that the tip could be reached.

However, the Parks Service has told the Washington Post that the change in measurement is not significant enough to prompt the changing of any brochures, and so they will continue to use the historical height.

Image Credit: Ron Cogswell (Flickr.com)