The Facts About Quicksand

Quicksand, as seen in the movies, can be very scary. In the movies, quicksand pulls whatever is unlucky enough to fall into it down into a bottomless pit, or so it seems. Then the unlucky victim disappears and is assumed to have drowned. In reality, the movies do not portray quicksand exactly as it really reacts. To begin with, quicksand is rarely deeper than a few feet, not a bottomless pit that can swallow a six-foot tall man. Quicksand does not have any suction power either, that is only in the movies. Quicksand is nothing more than sand oversaturated by water. The saturation is so that the sand is actually floating on top of the water. This soupy mixture creates the illusion that it can pull objects deeper into the pit by the sand shifting when the object moves in it.

A person who enjoys the great outdoors should become aware of quicksand and the proper techniques to battle this phenomenon of nature. If a person suddenly finds himself or herself in quicksand, the first thing they should remember is to not panic. Panicking is the worst thing that that person can do. Just remember that the quicksand cannot swallow a person and it is not as hard to escape its clutches as it seems, especially if the person knows what they should do. When a person drowns in quicksand, it is generally due to them panicking and flailing their arms and legs. If the person who has just fallen into the quick sand will just relax, even though that will be hard to do, they will probably float to the top.

Being able to float in quicksand is due to the differences in the densities of quicksand, water and the human body. Quicksand has a density of about 125 pounds per cubic foot and the human body has a density of 62.4 pounds per cubic foot. The differences between these densities enable the human body to float while in quicksand. The sand-to-water ratio can vary, even making the quicksand less buoyant, but still capable of allowing a person to float on it, without panicking and flailing around.

If floating is not working due to the buoyancy of the quicksand, do not panic; just make slow, easy movements to free yourself. Then float to the top, turn on your back and paddle to safety. If you find yourself only in quicksand up to your waist, you will experience a vacuum when trying to remove your leg from the quicksand. To release the vacuum, slowly move your leg. Remember, quick movements will make the situation worse.

Falling into quicksand is not the end of the world. A person who finds himself or herself in this predicament should remember not to panic and allow him or herself to float by getting on their back. In this position, they can paddle to safety using slow motions. The most important thing to remember is to remain calm and not begin flailing around, causing the sand particles to engulf them.

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