To the disappointment of many IWP students, the minor earthquake that gently rocked the Washington, D.C. area early on the morning of Friday, July 16, 2010 wasn’t nearly severe enough to disrupt class schedules and impending final exams.
IWP staffer Charles Van Someren, whose workaholic tendencies occasionally lead him to pull “all-nighters” in his third-floor office at the Institute’s Marlatt Mansion, noticed a soft but deep rumbling noise shortly after 5 AM as he labored over a graphic design project. “At first I was afraid that the building’s mechanical systems were malfunctioning,” he reported. “When I realized that my desk and the floor were vibrating, I decided that it probably wasn’t an IWP-specific incident.”
Indeed, the U.S. Geological Survey reports that a 3.6-magnitude earthquake occurred in Gaithersburg, Maryland (approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Washington).
The Institute’s Vice President for Finance and Administration, Jim Holmes, noted that in the event of major disruptions – most likely to be severe weather conditions, but earthquakes could theoretically be included – IWP’s offices and classes always follow the closure policy of the Federal Government.