Episode 43 – Gretel Zwick


Gretel Zwick is an assistant project manager who works in underground utility locating. She has a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management with an emphasis in surveying. She is passionate about surveying and about letting people know about surveying and what they do.

Episode Notes

Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio

Acronyms, Definitions & Fact Check

Total Station – A total station is an optical surveying instrument that uses electronics to calculate angles and distances. It combines the functions of a theodolite with that of a transit level and electronic distance meter (EDM). It also has an integrated microprocessor, electronic data collector, and storage system that allows measurements to be stored on the device which can be uploaded to a computer for further processing. (wikipedia)

Djibouti, Africa – Djibouti, on the Horn of Africa, is a mostly French- and Arabic-speaking country of dry shrublands, volcanic formations and Gulf of Aden beaches. It’s home to one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world, the low-lying Lake Assal, in the Danakil Desert. The nomadic Afar people have settlements along Lake Abbe, a body of saltwater featuring chimneylike mineral formations

A muslim woman’s headscarf is called a hijab.

Sperm whales – Sperm whales are the largest toothed cetacean. The size of most large baleen whales, they actually have teeth on their bottom jaw, used to grasp large squid or fish, unlike other large whales that filter smaller denser prey through their baleen.  Almost mythical creatures, sperm whales were historically feared and revered in cultures around the world.  The famous 19th century novel, Moby Dick, featured a sperm whale, and was based on the experiences of ‘Yankee whalers’ that roamed the world’s oceans hunting whales from small open boats in the 1800’s.  Though not the largest species of whale, it does have the largest head and the largest brain of any animal on the planet; can dive deeper than almost any other marine mammal; and lives in a stable and complex matrilineal society similar to that of elephants.  Sperm whales are usually found in deep oceanic waters, but can be observed closer to shore around islands or areas where underwater canyons or a narrow continental shelf provide deep water nearshore habitat.

Lake Assal is a crater lake in the Danakil Desert in central Djibouti. Dormant volcanoes and black lava fields back its emerald water. More than 150m below sea level, it’s the lowest point in Africa. The wet section of the lake is a body of extremely salty water fed by hot springs. The dry section features a white salt bed from which lake water evaporated over the years. Salt is extracted in slabs from this section.

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