On August 23, 2011 a 5.8 magnitude earthquake shook the DC region. Although the quake’s center was 80 some miles southwest of DC, it was powerful enough to set the obelisk swaying and cause significant damage to the masonry. It is now completely encased in scaffolding as workers assess the damage and begin repairs. The scaffolding itself is wrapped in blue scrim and decorative lights, which I understand is really quite lovely at night. (Yeah, I know, I should go get that shot.)
The monument is closed to the public and should reopen in Spring 2014.