Quicksand was probably the number-one hazard faced by silver-screen adventurers, followed by decaying rope bridges and giant clams that could hold a diver underwater. The short answer is: yes. maybe. I’ve often seen it likened to a house of cards in which most of the overall size is empty space. It can be partly because of the shapes of the sand grains and partly because something has forced them apart. Floating, which I’ll save for another topic, is a matter of density. Well . Instead, slowly lie backward to spread your weight more evenly. Those spaces can become filled with water. Physicists have calculated that the force required to extract your foot from quicksand at a rate of one centimeter per second is roughly equal to the force needed to lift a medium-sized car. Given how often quicksand deaths and near-deaths occur in film, you would think we would be seeing news about quicksand tragedies in real life. Is quicksand a real thing. Yes, quicksand is very real. Our legs are pretty dense, so they may sink, but the torso contains the lungs, and thus is buoyant enough to stay out of trouble. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. That means that a human body floats in quicksand. People and animals can get stuck in it, but they don’t get sucked down to the bottom—they float on the surface. Indeed it is, but it isn’t exactly like you see on television. In quicksand, there is more space between sand grains. Premium Membership is now 50% off. Is it like this? One genuine danger is that a person who is immobilized in quicksand could be engulfed and drowned by an incoming tide—quicksands often occur in tidal areas—but even these types of accidents are very rare. It can take a little time, but you should be able to get yourself out or at least to a point at which someone can then pull you out. Does quicksand exist? In real life, you can't be saved by someone pulling you out. Getting out will take a while, though. It can also be made up of silt and water or clay and water. Less dense objects float in more dense materials. But should the situation ever arise, don’t panic. Moving won’t cause you to sink. That is why quicksand is often found near riverbanks or beaches. Think about walking on a beach. If you want to experiment with something like quicksand, mix 1 cup of water with about 1.5 – 2 cups of cornstarch and maybe a little food coloring. If you do find yourself stuck in quicksand, the best idea is to lean back so that the weight of your body is distributed over a wider area. After all, it seemed that characters in cartoons and movies were always sinking in quicksand. Strong sudden movements quicken the solidification of quicksand, making it more like a solid than a liquid, so pulling and jerking only makes a bad situation worse. That spring forces more water between the sand grains. So unlike many cartoons and movies, you are less likely to find quicksand in a desert than in wet places, such as on beaches, alongside lakes or rivers, and in marshes. That’s because you actually float in quicksand. The unlucky victim starts sinking down into the muck; struggling only makes it worse. To understand what happens, imagine pressing your foot down on normal sand. I recently attended a meeting with someone who joked that his biggest childhood fear was drowning in quicksand. That spring forces more water between the sand grains. Dry sand higher up on the beach supports you more than wet sand closer to the ocean. After reports Monday that a Mesa man was saved from quicksand at Zion National Park in Utah, our newsroom was buzzing about the fact that quicksand is actually real … Quicksand—that is, sand that behaves as a liquid because it is saturated with water—can be a mucky nuisance, but it’s basically impossible to die in the way that is depicted in movies. So it got me thinking? Is quicksand actually as dangerous as advertised? Black Friday Sale! If everything you learned about quicksand came from watching movies, then you're dangerously misinformed. . . Then, slowly try to wiggle out one leg. You asked us, "Is quicksand real?" That is the reason it … Nope. Once you’ve pushed the water aside, the remaining sand will be tightly packed around you. Depending on your size, you would probably only be up to your knees or waist.