Who are we? Liezel (our old team member) and Karin (our new team member): Part 1

During this week (Week 4) of us publishing weekly biographies on new and veteran team members we’ll chat to Liezel and Karin. So far we have interviewed three ‘veteran’ team members and three ‘newbie’ team members. (For more on these interviews see below.) For Part 1 of this week we’ve interviewed Liezel. For Part 2 we’ve chatted to Karin. Liezel has been to the Antarctic on two occasions: during the Austral summers (or field seasons) of  2013/14 and 2014/15. She is currently employed as a lecturer at the University of the Free State.

If you have missed any of our previous posts you can read about them following the links below:

  • During Week 1 we chatted to Dave and Nicola.
  • During Week 2 we chatted to Cam and Jenna.
  • Week 3 was spent getting to know Rosie and Tebogo better.


Biography # 4 of the Veteran Participants: Liezel Rudolph

Q1: What are you doing now?

I am lecturing ‘Process Geomorphology’ to second year Geography students at the University of the Free State. I am also starting-up a PhD with the Sub-Antarctic Landscape Climate Interactions group, looking at reconstructing the glacial history of Marion Island.

Q2: Why did you go to Antarctica?

I was curious to see if it really exists and really is as white and windy as I’ve imagined. More specifically to look at rock glaciers and figure out what they’re are doing down there…

Q3: What was your role in the team(s) when you went down?

Entertainment. I don’t think my team had ever spend so much time with an Afrikaans person before…so they found me quite amusing.

To have cold hands and announce sunscreen hour.

Fill jerry cans, pack (and re-pack) sleds, pitch tents, charge two-way radios every night…

I was a UAV technical assistant (i.e. an appy to hold spare parts and keep the batteries warm).

I’m kind of a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, so I tried picking up where help was needed and learn as much as I could.

But more seriously, I claimed responsibility for the GPSs and batteries to make sure we had routes to navigate with and our survey points were catalogued (mainly because I was inexperienced with anything else). And when it came to my work, I ordered people around.

Q4: What academic work did you have to do there?

Do a baseline assessment and characterisation of rock glaciers in the Jutulsessen (which is where the Norwegian research station is located). I measured various characteristics (rock and soil properties, ground surface temperature etc.) and mapped them, so that we can understand what is currently happening, and have a record to compare future landscape changes to. (More on Liezel’s Master research on ‘Surface characteristics of rock glaciers in the Jutulsessen, Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica’ can be found here.)

Q5: How many times have you gone down?

Twee keer. (For those of us that don’t speak Afrikaans that means ‘twice’.)

Q6: Had you seen snow before you went down to SANAE IV?

I thought I had, until I got to Antarctica. What I previously saw I now know was very cold rain.

Q7: What ONE (or two) word(s) would you use to describe the Antarctic?


Q8: What ONE word would you use to describe your trip(s) to the Antarctic?


Q9: What was the best part of your trip(s)?

Travelling on Ski-Doos (snow mobiles) to our study sites. You feel an amazing sense of freedom and vulnerability at the same time.

Q10: Do you have any advice for newbies?

Respect the cold and appreciate the stillness.

Focus. Take responsibility for yourself and care of your team.

Remember where you are, what a privilege it is and never take it for granted.

Have fun – take face paint and jingle bells for you sleds and a cool playlist for when you are on noisy vehicles!

Q11:Would you/do you want to go again?

My bags are packed.

#2016fieldpreparations #Antarctica #landscapeprocessesinantarcticecosystems

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