New cracks found in the Vietnam Memorial
A team of geophysicists has discovered a new series of cracks in the fabled black granite wall at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the Mall.
The experts from Hager-Richter Geoscience Inc., were called in by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, which built the wall, after earlier cracks were discovered several months ago.
The consultants began inspecting the polished wall Monday and discovered more cracks this week, the fund's founder, Jan Scruggs, said Thursday.
Most of the cracks are small _ a few inches in length _ and are scarcely visible to the average viewer. But the wall has a history of small cracks going back over 20 years.
Scruggs said the cause of the cracking is not yet clear. One theory is that the stone may actually bow outwards when heated by the sun. Scruggs said the surface of the stone can be 20 degrees warmer than the air temperature.
The wall is constructed out of a series of stone slabs, and bears the names of over 50,000 Americans who perished as a result of the Vietnam War.
The stone was quarried in India, Scruggs said, and the fund has several blank spares it can use in case one is severely damaged.
The experts, Gene Simmons and Dorothy Richter, said their investigation would run through Friday, and they would probably have report ready in a few weeks.
-- Michael E. Ruane
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