Where Is Quicksand Found?

Short answer:

Quicksand is a saturated sediment mixture of water and granular sand, commonly found near beaches, marshes, swamps, lakes, waterfalls, creek banks, and underground springs. Basically, they can be found in any location which has loose grainy sand and water resource. Quicksand is formed when water gets trapped in the grainy soil and forms a saturated mixture that appears solid until a sudden agitation in the sand cause liquefaction and it loses its strength.

Image credit: MBargo

What are quicksand and they are formed?

Quicksand is saturated sediment of water and fine granular materials such as sand and clay. Initially, the quicksand might appear as a solid surface but when it gets activated due to sudden agitation, the quicksand will start to liquefy and losses its strength. This liquefaction of quicksand caused due to change in pressure forms a suspension of sand particles surrounded by a thin film of water.

After the initial disturbance, the water and sand in the quicksand get separated which suddenly reduces the viscosity of the quicksand. Due to this low viscosity, the person standing on it will start to sink quickly.

It is interesting to note that humans cannot sink completely in the quicksand because the density of quicksand is more as compared to the density of the human body. Therefore, humans can only sink to the level at which the weight of the person is equal to the weight of the displaced quicksand. It is also found that the objects with a higher density than quicksand’s density can float on it if they are stationary.

As the person struggles aggressively in the quicksand, its viscosity increases and making the person’s movement more difficult. Therefore, do not panic and do not move aggressively in case you are stuck in the quicksand because the more you struggle, the more quicksand will get activated and it will become difficult for you to get out of it.

Here is an interesting video about quicksand.

Where quicksand can be found?

In order to find out where quicksand can be found, we need to understand how they are formed. Quicksand forms when water gets trapped in the area of grainy and loose sand. This trapped water gets saturated with sand particles and creates liquefied soil which cannot resist force and sudden change in pressure. Quicksand can be formed by flowing or standing underground water. They can be easily formed in the regions with loose and granular sand along with water. Therefore, they can be found near beaches, marshes, lakes, waterfalls, creek banks and underground springs.

How to get out of quicksand?

  • If you accidentally got stuck into the quicksand, the first thing you should do is not to panic and also do not move aggressively and remember that humans cannot sink entirely because our body’s density is lesser than the quicksand’s density. Always keep head and arms above the quicksand.
  • Don’t ask your friends to pull you out.
  • Now get rid of extra weight such as a backpack or shoes if possible.
  • Slowly wiggle your legs such that a pocket of water will get created. This will loosen the sand around your legs.
  • Now lay on your back such that your body weight will distribute over the surface of quicksand. This will make it difficult for quicksand to sink you.
  • Use your arms to push yourself backward and slowly start raising your legs up one at a time such that quicksand occupies the empty space below your legs.

And this way, you can get out of the quicksand. Getting out of quicksand might take hours, so be calm and patient.

Note

Always look for quicksand danger zones, if you are around wet and sandy areas such as beaches, marshes, swamps, and underground springs.

Professor Atom

View posts by Professor Atom
Professor Atom is a science enthusiast and alumni of IIT Bombay. According to him, every question can be solved with curiosity and mind mapping. ( Curiosity = Asking Questions = Learning )

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