When Washington, DC, and much of the East Coast was rattled by a 5.8 magnitude earthquake last August, one of the biggest local stories was about the spires of the Washington National Cathedral toppling to the ground. Questions immediately arose about the structural soundness of the landmark church building -- formally called the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul -- and whether more stone would fall.
Last week I had the incredible opportunity to go behind the scenes at the cathedral and see the earthquake damage first hand. Leading the tour was head stone mason Joe Alonso, who noted that with "2-3 more seconds of earthquake, we would have lost 50% more stone." Keeping in mind damage to other important structures like the Washington Monument, we're glad the quake stopped when it did.