Park Service makes sure Mount Rushmore cracks are not fatal

Checking the faces at Mount Rushmore takes some rappelling skills.
Checking the faces at Mount Rushmore takes some rappelling skills.(KOTA)
Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 1:37 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - As part of the efforts to preserve Mount Rushmore, an annual re-calibration of specialized equipment is scheduled for Oct.12-13. To this end, information on monitoring changes in the rock to anticipate damages due to environmental shifts in temperature and erosion has been collected since 1996 through a contract with RESPEC Engineering out of Rapid City, South Dakota.

With a three-dimensional map and continual monitoring, park staff can quickly identify any changes in the sculpture and respond appropriately. The sculpture is exposed to blazing sun, lightning, rain, hail, snow, and temperatures that vary more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit from season to season. While the methods of accomplishing this task are evolving, the need for cooperation between experts in many fields has remained the same.

Experts say that they know how the sculpture reacts to daily and seasonal temperature changes and can identify problems more easily than ever through modern scientific methods. Learn more about ongoing sculpture preservation on the park website.