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Posted by on Sep 13, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Does Quicksand Suck Things Down?

Does Quicksand Suck Things Down?

No – quicksand does not actually suck anything down. In fact, quicksand is rarely more than a few feet deep; you can float in quicksand the same as you float in a swimming pool. But quicksand is dangerous. Quicksand is a deep pit of sand so mixed with water that you can’t stand on it.

If you step into quicksand, you will slowly sink to the same level you would if you were in water. Then you will float. But if you struggle, you will sink deeper and deeper. If you get stuck in quicksand, remain motionless with your arms stretched out. This will keep you from sinking deeper until help can arrive.

When water saturates an area of loose sand, you get quicksand. Although this goopy mixture of water and sand may appear solid, it cannot support weight very well. Quicksand forms when water saturates an area of loose sand and the sand is agitated by flowing underground water or earthquakes.

Vibrations caused by agitation and excess water reduce the friction that normally occurs between sand particles. This means the sand begins to act more like a liquid than a solid. Once the sand liquefies, it loses its strength and ability to support heavy objects, such as a person standing on its surface.

Content for this question contributed by Marshall Fox, resident of Three Rivers, Palmer, Hampden County, Massachusetts, USA