Most wonder if quicksand is real or not. Is it just something that you see in the big Hollywood movies? It is real and it is dangerous. If you ever encounter quicksand while traveling, you need to know what to do instantly.
Last Updated: June 14th, 2022
If you got trapped in quicksand, would you know what to do? Most don’t. So we decided to make The Quicksand Survival Guide. In this guide, we’re going to cover how to get out of quicksand, what to do and what not to do in quicksand, and some common misconceptions about quicksand. After reading this guide, you will be very ready if you and your travel buddies would ever cross paths with quicksand.
Are You Scared Of Quicksand?
It’s almost usual to get creeped out when talking or just thinking about quicksand. It’s mythical, mysterious, and hard to detect and decipher. So, if you’re scared of quicksand, don’t worry because you are among the majority who are.
But, did you know that quicksands are actually not as dangerous and deadly as they are portrayed in the movies? In fact, quicksands are rare, and only very few deaths are related to getting trapped in it.
It’s almost always that movies and TV shows blow up or exaggerate on things, and quicksand is not an exception to that. In reality, anyone can safely get out of quicksand with proper preparation and strategy.
Quicksand Survival Tips
If you’re an adventure seeker or an enthusiast who is about to embark on a journey through the wild, this guide will help you in preparing just in case you or your acquaintance gets trapped in a quicksand. We will never know, but it could happen!
This survival guide will answer all of your questions and curiosities about quicksand. What causes quicksand in the desert? Is it wet or dry? Does it have a bottom? Can you die in dry quicksand? How can you get out of quicksand?
What Exactly Is Quicksand?
It’s important to know exactly what it is and how it works. Understanding the science behind quicksand can save your life or an extremely long and painful scenario for yourself.
First, for all, quicksand is not some rare type of soil or sand. It’s just the common grainy soil, which is almost anywhere in the world. Hence, quicksand can occur anywhere if the conditions are right.
HowStuffWorks stated that “Quicksand is an interesting natural phenomenon — it is actually solid ground that has been liquefied by saturation of water.” The term quick is a description of how the sand shifts or moves easily, especially when something or someone disturbs it.
To make it all simple, quicksand is nothing but a semi-liquid mixture of sand and water. This means that it is basically a solid ground of soil or sand that has been saturated and liquefied by water.
Quicksand is commonly found in lake shorelines, marshes, beaches, riverbanks, and areas within the vicinity of underground springs. There are two reasons why quicksands are formed.
First, when an earthquake happens, it can accelerate the pressure of groundwater, which then liquefies the soil and turns it into quicksand. Second, the flowing underground water opposes gravitational force and makes the sand granules more buoyant.
So, are quicksands wet or dry? Generally, they are wet because of the water saturation. But, there is also the so-called dry quicksand, which is said to be found in deserts.
In the Netherlands, a physicist named Detlef Lohse and his colleagues studied how dry quicksand could occur. They concluded that dry quicksand is a result of the sedimentation of sand and having it blown with air.
So, Once And For All…
Does quicksand have a bottom? Yes, it does but the deepness could vary. Quicksands are generally a few feet deep, usually at the level of your waist. The endless pit being portrayed at the movies are not common at all. But some quicksands are deeper than usual but definitely not bottomless.
Can you survive being trapped in quicksand? Yes, you can. Since a quicksand is just a few feet deep, you can definitely survive when you get trapped in it by accident. Also, since we are less dense than the quicksand, we will definitely stay afloat in it.
In the next section, this guide will show you how you can get out of quicksand the proper way.
Finally, can you die in wet or dry quicksand? The answer is yes. But if and only if no one is around to help you and the situation is made worser by other circumstances. If you get stuck in quicksand, and then a tide comes in, you could drown and get killed. If an animal attacks you while you’re stuck in quicksand, you could also get killed. But dying from “getting sucked in and eaten” by the quicksand alone does not commonly happen.
How To Survive Falling in Quicksand
If you find yourself coming across an area of quicksand as you’re walking through a desert, there’s not much time to react and to react the way you need to for survival. In order to do this, understanding the physics of quicksand is crucial.
So, why is it so hard to get out of quicksand? Since quicksands are a liquefied mixture of water and soil or sand, a person or an animal that walks through it indefinitely gets submerged in it. The reason why it’s so difficult to get out of quicksand is that the movement of the limbs sort of produces a vacuum pressure. It is very much like how some mud could pull off your shoes.
Step 1. Keep Your Arms Up
Move your arms up out of the quicksand. You need your arms to be free in order to grab any objects around you.
Step 2. Don’t Struggle
This will cause you to sink deeper into the quicksand. The more your struggle and move around, the faster you will sink.
Step 3. Use What You have
If you have some heavy things with you like a backpack or any equipment, it would be best for you to set them aside or throw them far from the quicksand. This would help you save your valuables and focus on getting yourself out.
If you are knee-deep in the quicksand, try to find something sturdy to grab on, like a thick root, a bark, or a rope, if there is any. Once you get a hold of that, pull yourself out gently by wriggling your feet and legs slowly to loosen up the grip of the quicksand. Do this slowly and consistently until your feet are off the quicksand.
Step 4. Lean Back
If you are waist-deep in the quicksand, try to lay on your back instead of standing upright. By doing this, you are trying to spread or distribute your weight evenly so that your body will slowly float and rise from the quicksand. But you won’t float instantly. You have to try and grab your way up the surface. What’s important is you do this slowly and calmly so that you won’t exhaust too much energy.
Try to maneuver your body to a position where you are on leaning on your back, similar to how you would float on top of water, in order to free your legs from the bottom.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s at the bottom of quicksand?
More sand and water, only more dense. Since quicksand is a pit of a mixture of sand and water, the bottom of quicksand is where the sand and water end and the ground or rock begins.
Can you reach the bottom of quicksand?
You cannot sink to the bottom of a quicksand pit because the water and sand is too dense. Because of this, the furthest you can sink down into quicksand is to about your waist level.
Can you survive falling in quicksand?
You will survive if you fall in quicksand. You will not drown because you will not fall all the way to the bottom as the water and sand mixture is too dense.
I hope this Quicksand Survival Guide helped you understand how to prepare for and survive quicksand. If you liked this guide, you may also want to check out our other Survival guides like the Vulture Survival Guide on how to survive a vulture attack or our Hyena Survival Guide on how to survive a Hyena attack.
For other guides on surviving disaster scenarios, see how full guide on disaster preparedness on how to prepare and survive any disaster.