- The omnipresent feature of Antarctica is, of course, ice… and in many more colours than white.
- There was Green Ice (layered by lichen), Red Ice (stained by pink lichen or even by penguin droppings from a krill-based diet), Blue Ice (from extremely dense packing of ice crystals in icebergs that calved off from glaciers), and Sky Blue or Aquamarine Ice (usually in ice sheets that are leftovers of sea ice).
- The most fascinating as well as the most troubling of all was Black Ice — thick but clear, glass-like chunks that reflected the dark waters beneath.
- Some of these chunks were remnants of the pre-historic ice that underlies glaciers, and their very presence on the surface was a warning of how deeply global warming had affected the region.
- the gigantic crater of a sunken volcano that keeps the island’s soil steaming even in the Antarctic weather.
Svalbard’s fragile tundra
- a soft carpet of greenish-yellow lichen and moss in the summer, and layers of fine ice in the winter is home to an astonishing variety of wildlife — from polar bears to Arctic foxes to Arctic terns and swallows.
- The Antarctic, on the other hand, is stark and its wildlife, from penguins to seals to whales, is dependent on the sea around it.