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Fun Fact Monday March 9, 2020

9 March 2020

Quicksand; What is it?  How common is it? What causes it and will it kill you?  Quicksand is a mixture of fine granular material like sand, silt or clay and water.  Quicksand is fairly common and is found by riverbanks, beaches, estuaries, near underground springs and marshes.  Quicksand is created when soil gets completely saturated by water.  This cause particles to be suspended in the water and lose strength.  The area may appear solid, but in reality it is not.  When something, or someone, steps in the sand pit the viscosity, or thickness, of the sand/water mixture changes due to the disturbance and whatever has caused the disturbance begins to sink.  How quickly it sinks depends on the mixture.  If you’ve watched any sort of adventure movie you’ve no doubt witnessed the hero getting trapped in the quicksand only to be rescued at the last possible moment by a low hanging vine or a perfectly thrown branch.  In reality, if you find yourself in quicksand you most likely won’t drown.  You’ll sink to the point where the buoyancy of your body equals that of the quicksand, usually around waist deep.  To get out use slow movement of your legs which will increase the viscosity of the fluid, then rotate your body so you are floating on your back.  From there, back-stroke yourself to safety.