Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One of these stones is not like the other

So yesterday there was a strong-for-the-area earthquake in central Virginia, and tremors were felt throughout much of the US eastern seaboard. There wasn’t much serious damage, but one of the buildings damaged was the Kensington, Maryland* temple, which had the tips of four of its six spires shaken off.**

This didn’t get all that much play in the news—certainly not as much as the interestingly similar damage to the spires of the National Cathedral in Washington DC—but it did get mentioned on KSL TV’s web site. This makes sense—KSL is in Salt Lake City, Utah, and so news about Mormon temples is likely to appeal to a decent-sized chunk of its audience.

Unfortunately, they had some issues with editing.

Here’s a link to the story on their site. Since bits of it may well change with time, here’s a quote of the problem paragraph, exactly as it appears in the original:

The shaking damaged Latter-day Saint temple in Washington, D.C., causing it to lose the tips of four of its spires. They were knocked off, as were some pieces of granite on the temple facing.

Now, aside from the missing article (the should follow damaged) and the placement of the temple in the wrong city, there’s an interesting error of fact—the temple is faced with marble, not granite. This is particularly amusing given the immediately following paragraph (exactly as in the original, except for the bolding for emphasis, which i added):

“We started finding chunks of marble and spires laying on the ground. They are about four feet long; the base of them are probably 4 inches square, and it comes up to a point,” said Doug Wiggins, a North Carolina resident who was at the temple when the earthquake hit.

Even more amusing is that the first, shorter blurb about this that went up on their website yesterday originally said that the falling spire tips gouged out pieces of granite from the temple’s facing,*** but the reference to granite was corrected to marble after someone pointed it out in the comments. Odd, then, that the error came back when the story was edited into its current, slightly longer form.

* Or, for those who insist, Washington DC.
** Cue the anti-Mormon trolls in 3…2…
*** The damage to the facing isn’t attributed to the tips in the current version of the story, so that may not have actually been the cause of that part of the damage.


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I noticed that.

The Cathedral has a LOT more damage than the temple, possibly because it's a whole lot older. The 3,000 pound chunk that fell on the (poured concrete so able to withstand the impact) roof is quite interesting. The flying buttresses are a mess. It's going to cost in the millions to fix it.

Of course what the KSL article failed to mention is we've had a problem with that marble facade for YEARS so it's absolutely no surprise that some came off on Tuesday. The spires falling off are really sad, but the marble is not surprising. When they renovated the temple a few years ago they had to fix a lot of the marble. It's yet another issue with building people in UT refusing to believe that what works out there in a dry climate doesn't always work here in a wet climate.

You know, they could have been correct referring to the temple as "in Washington, DC" if they had removed the "in" and changed it to the Washington DC Temple as that is it's current official name.

David B said...

Yeah—i almost registered to comment on their site, because someone had pointed out the error of saying that the temple is in DC, and then someone had jumped in to correct the correction, even though the second correction was wrong.