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Engineers Are Studying The Cracks In The Watts Towers

Watts Towers (Photo by ultranow via the LAist Featured Photos pool)
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The Watts Towers are going to get a much-needed close-up from UCLA engineers. The famous spires completed by Simon Rodia in 1954 have been plagued by cracks over the years, and now engineers are going to study how the elements might be contributing to those cracks—especially the more serious ones at the base of the towers.

The study by UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science is already underway, according to the Los Angeles Times. Sensors have been placed around the site to measure the wind, the sun and even earthquakes at the site. The study is expected to be completed by next year.

Rodia created the seven spires out of cement, glass, ceramic and other found objects over the course of three decades. The Watts Towers are a national historic landmark, and the study is being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, which has a long-term contract to preserve the towers, is overseeing the study.

Field Trip Photos: Watts Towers