The video: The National Park Service announced this week that the Washington Monument will be closed indefinitely, as the magnitude 5.8 earthquake that rocked much of the Northeast last month did more damage to the iconic obelisk than was originally disclosed. The organization also released two videos taken from security cameras located in the monument's observation deck, revealing debris falling from the violently shaking structure as terrified visitors quickly scrambled for safety. (Watch the videos below.) According to the AP, there's a crack — 4 feet long, 1 inch wide — on the building, and in some areas, you can see sunlight through crevices in the stone. The Park Service has thus far spent more than $200,000 inspecting the damage.
The reaction: Experiencing an earthquake can be scary for anyone, say Theresa Poulson and Kenneth Chamberlain at National Journal. But "probably more so if you are more than 500 feet above the ground inside a stone obelisk." The scene escalates from "laid-back texting park ranger to full-on panic" startlingly fast, says Adrian Chen at Gawker. After watching this "absolutely terrifying" clip, will the "snooty, earthquake-jaded Californians" finally count this as a "real earthquake?" Indeed, says Mark Memmott at NPR, especially in the second video — filmed from above a window in the observation deck — you get a sense of just "how violent the shaking was." See for yourself: