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February 16, 2017

Lauren and the giant pumice

The submarine volcanism Chapman Conference is at an end, and by all means it was a success. We had 102 scientists from 13 countries, including 27 students, attend. Submarine volcanologists got to talk to subaerial volcanologists. We saw cool videos of scientists pouring lava over water and ice. We went on a field trip and saw seals and dolphins. We talked about lots and lots of volcanoes (I stopped counting at 27).


February 13, 2017

Surveying the rugged beauty of Tasmania’s coast

After our morning of watching Tasmanian Devils tear apart scraps of meat and me trying desperately to take a selfie with a kangaroo, we finished the mid-conference field trip with a 3-hour eco-cruise around the Tasman Peninsula. The peninsula has some of the most beautiful coastline in the world, which includes some amazing exposed rock formations, which our group of geologists were all too happy to see.


February 3, 2017

Animals of the Tasman Peninsula

On Wednesday, we took a field trip to the Tasman Peninsula to see some of Tasmania’s native animals in their natural habitat. Our first stop was the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo. According to the owners, the unzoo is the complete opposite of a zoo. Instead of displaying animals in cages and enclosures, the unzoo allows visitors to interact with animals (both wild and resident) in their natural environment. There are few enclosures and mostly open space where animals are free to come and go as they please.


January 29, 2017

Hobart, Day 1

I really knew next to nothing about Tasmania before this trip was planned. I didn’t even know if it was officially part of Australia (it is). I thought it was basically unexplored wilderness with kangaroos hopping around everywhere. But that is not the case. Tasmania actually has cities and suburbs and it looks pretty much like everywhere else.


January 28, 2017

Exploring underwater volcanoes from down under

Yesterday, I arrived in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, after a dizzying 30-hour trip from Washington, DC. I exchanged the frigid cold of the US East Coast for the warm 70-degree weather of this tiny island off the coast of Australia. It’s by far the furthest south I have ever been. What am I doing here? I’m attending the AGU Chapman Conference on submarine volcanism that will take place next week. At this point you may be wondering: what’s a Chapman Conference? And what the heck is submarine volcanism?