Alamo Facade Slowly Sinking

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February 10, 2015

A key part of the Alamo is sinking, a study has confirmed.

The scientific study done by the Texas A&M Center for Heritage Conservation announced that the west facade of the Alamo, the former Spanish mission that was the site of an iconic battle in the first half of the 19th Century, was 2.5 inches lower in height than it was the last time it was measured, in 1960.

Scientists issued no immediate call for alarm but cautioned that such a drop in a large block of limestone 3 feet thick could indicate that further, more precipitous sinking could occur if preservation efforts are not begun soon.

The current stone complex dates to 1744. The mission began in 1718, when it was known as Mission San Antonio de Valero. The modern name was applied in the early 1800s, by Spanish soldiers, after their Mexican hometown of Alamo de Parras.

On March 6, 1836, Mexican forces overwhelmed Americans known as Texians, who had seized the fort as part of an overall movement to declare Texas independent from Mexico. Close to 200 Americans died in the Battle of the Alamo, in one of a series of events that led to the Mexican-American War.

The announcement came at the end of a four-year study that included imaging done by large-format cameras and lasers, resulting in 2D and 3D images that were then compared with historical photos and documents.

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