As I was going through a bunch of my photos in my Lightroom catalog, I ran across photos from a trip through South Dakota. We stopped at Mount Rushmore National Memorial near Rapid City, South Dakota. As I viewed the many photos I took of the Presidents carved into the mountain, a close up photo of Lincoln’s head caught my attention. I noticed the amazing stone work detail that you could see when this photo was viewed at a 100% crop. So I decided to share it with you.
Lincoln’s nose has a large crack in it. There is an electronic sensor pinned to his nose which can be seen in the images below. It is called a rock block monitor and you can also see the wire that runs from the sensor, up the side of his nose, across his forehead and up into his hair. This rock block monitor is helping the park department to see if the crack is getting any worse but are very confident that there is not any threat of his nose falling off. This isn’t the only sensor monitoring the monument. In 1999 RE/SPEC, a Rapid City engineering firm, installed concealed sensors at various places on the granite surface. The sensors measure the normal expansion and contraction of the rock as it responds to the heat and cold of day and night, winter and summer. Movements range from 1/500th to 1/1,000th of an inch – no threat to the integrity of a 60-foot-tall mountain carving. But by building a long-term record of the natural rock movement, the National Park Service will be able to detect and respond to unnatural movements if they ever occur. You can see the monitor on Lincoln’s nose because of the angle and location I took the photo. This monitor is hidden from most other locations that you can photograph Mount Rushmore.
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