Apologies for the long gap between posts, everyone! Between fieldwork and traveling, we had very little technology access for weeks. So here is a long overdue update!!

    The Velvet Ice team left Antarctica at the end of January. True to form, our departure was an adventure! We all ended up getting split up and leaving the continent on different flights, spanning several days! Rachel made it out first, and Tiffany was last to leave the ice.

    Where are they now??

    After the expedition, each team member went their own way.


    Rachel left Antarctica and went straight back home to begin her Arctic field season. She is currently in Barrow, Alaska, collecting sea ice cores. Soon, she and her team will begin a cross-country road trip to take the ice cores back to Dartmouth, in New Hampshire, to study their microstructure in the lab. The team will be stopping at various locations along the way to discuss their work, and introduce students to the ICE-MITT (which stands for Ice CoreA cylindrical section of ice removed from a glacier or an ice sheet using a specialized type of hollow drill. Enter the definition here. Extraction while Maintaining In-situ Temperature Transitions), a contraption they invented which will keep the ice cores at their original temperatures for the long trip home!

    Rachel writes, "I'm in the middle of a successful field campaign in Barrow, Alaska. Things are working reasonably well, the weather and sea ice have been predictable, we're managing to fix the problems we run up against, and no one's been eaten by a polar bear yet!"

    Flag Planting
    Rachel and team plant a flag from Monoma Grove school. Photo courtesy of Rachel Obbard.

    Rachel in Barrow
    Modeling a special T-shirt on a particularly beautiful Arctic day. Photo courtesy of Rachel Obbard.

    You can follow Rachel and her team on Facebook at (www.facebook.com/theicemitt) or check out their blog (theicemittproject.wordpress.com) to see if she'll be presenting at a venue near you in the weeks to follow!


    After leaving the ice, Erin spent 3 weeks biking around New Zealand's South Island, before heading home to Alaska. Yes, you read that right -- biking as in on a bicycle! Around a country!! Along the way, she no-doubt stopped to enjoy the scenery, take photographs, and paint.

    Here is a shot of her enjoying a quiet moment alone, captured by a helicopter that flew overhead and landed nearby... thus effectively ruining her quiet moment alone.

    Erin in NZ
    Erin, with the entire Tasman Valley at the base of Mt. Cook to herself! Although the helicopter disturbed her solitude, the crew was nice enough to send her this picture!

    One of Erin's priorities upon returning home will be to organize and promote the Velvet Ice Art-Science contest, which you can learn more about here (http://www.explore-ice.gi.alaska.edu/art-contest) once the site is live!


    After an eventful couple of days attempting to get off the ice, Tiffany finally made it to New Zealand! There, she met up with boyfriend, Girard, to travel around for a few weeks. Trip highlights included a 5-day backpacking trip on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track, and a short visit to the North Island's Waitomo Caves.

    Tiff in NZ
    "Girard cooking dinner at our first beach camp on the Abel Tasman Coastal Track. We spent 5 days backpacking the coast. It was amazing." Courtesy of Tiffany Green.

    En route to Alaska (where Tiffany lives), they stopped for a few days in Los Angeles, to spend time with Tiff's mom, Julie.

    Tiff and Mom
    Tiff writes, "This is my Mom and I at the end of our stay in LA. We went to Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, and California Adventure in our short 3 day stay. It was really good to see her!" Photo courtesy of Tiffany Green.

    Tiff and Mickey
    No trip to LA is complete without some time at Disneyland! From left to right, Tiffany, Mickey Mouse, Mom (Julie), Girard. Photo courtesy of Tiffany Green.

    Tiff describes her trip as amazing and says she could write a whole book about it!


    I spent a month traveling with friends and family around New Zealand and Australia before returning home to Chicago. We saw a ton of stuff and had a lot of fun, but I got home exhausted from all the travel, and glad to get back to my own bed.

    Here are a couple of memorable moments from the trips:

    Yamini in NZ
    White water rafting for the first time in Taihapei, NZ! Photo courtesy of River Valley Rafting Company.

    Yamini spots kangaroo in Australia
    While hiking around Ayer's Rock (Uluru), I saw 3 kangaroos hop by. They were so fast that I could only catch one of them with my camera.

    It ain't over till it's over...!

    While the opportunity for travel provided us with a brief break, our expedition work together is not over!

    The months we spent together in Antarctica were an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (for me, at least!) and I am so lucky to have been part of the Velvet Ice Team. The team and I will continue to collaborate in the upcoming months from our respective home towns. We look forward to sharing the results of our work with you, and hope you will all continue to learn with us!