Kent at Mount Rushmore

Alyssa Schmitt

A Kent State University graduate student received a grant to study the stability of Mount Rushmore.

The general population is not aware of the fractures present in Mount Rushmore.

Abdul Shakoor, professor of engineering geology and principle investigator, said the general population isn’t aware of the fractures present in Mount Rushmore and Lindsay Poluga, graduate student in the department of geology, along with others in the department, will let them know.

“She is looking at fractures on Mount Rushmore to see how stable the sculptures are,” said Dr. Daniel Holm, department of geology director. “We wouldn’t want Washington’s nose to fall off.”

After conducting her fieldwork in July, Poluga said the next step is to analyze all the information she collected by putting it through a series of tests.

“Because of the iconic nature of this monument, the long term stability of this monument is very important,” Shakoor said. “The long term stability depends on the characterization of the rock.”

Poluga said that help from outside sources made the study possible.

“We collaborated with the National Park Service and come up with this project,” Poluga said.

Shakoor said he had been waiting decades to get this opportunity.

“I ran the geology field camp in 1983 to 1984,” said Shakoor. “That’s when I first got to see Mount Rushmore myself. I was very impressed with this monument. It attracted me immediately and ever since, I have been looking for an opportunity to do some sort of work on the stability.”

Shakoor said the Poluga and the geology department want to make sure that the importance of this monument could not be stressed more by the geology department.

“This is one monument that actually portrays the history of the United States,” Shakoor said.

Poluga said the work that and the rest of the research team is doing will be important to the country now and it will also benefit future populations.

“We want generations to be able to enjoy it,” Poluga said. “It’s iconic. It’s overwhelming when you see it. It’s amazing that someone could carve that. And what it represents is very meaningful.” 

Contact Alyssa Schmitt at [email protected].