Is Quicksand Real? How do you Escape From Quicksand?

Is Quicksand Real? How do you Escape From Quicksand?

Let's get the first question out of the way.

Unfortunately, yes, quicksand is real.

In fact, back in February, a hiker in Arizona was rescued from quicksand in Zion National Park.

It isn't something that exists only in the realms of Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride, and Jumanji.

Although we wish it was this way.

Quicksand in Indiana Jones

Quicksand is present on every continent around the globe--minus Antarctica--and is commonly found near estuaries (the body of water where a river meets the sea).

Let's address the next pressing question.

We'll get to the, 'how to escape,' bit in a minute.

What is quicksand anyway?

Simply put, quicksand is just ordinary sand mixed with upwelling water, which makes it behave like a liquid. However, quicksand--unlike water--does not easily let go.

If you try to pull a limb out of quicksand, you have to work against the vacuum left behind.

Don't worry, we didn't know what Upwelling meant either. Not to worry, Wikipedia does, "Upwelling is an oceanographic phenomenon that involves wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water."

How can I avoid sinking in quicksand?

The viscosity of quicksand increases with shearing (or fast, strenuous movement)--move slowly so the viscosity is as low as possible.

Floating on quicksand is relatively easy and is the best way to avoid its clutches. You are more buoyant in quicksand than you are in water. Humans are less dense than freshwater, and saltwater is slightly denser.

Floating is easier in saltwater than freshwater and much easier in quicksand. Spread your arms and legs far apart and try to float on your back.

What preventative measures can someone take?

1. When walking in quicksand country, carry a stout pole or heavy-duty walking stick--it will help you get out should you need to.

2. As soon as you start to sink, lay the pole on the surface of the quicksand.

3. Flop onto your back on top of the pole.

After a minute or two, equilibrium in the quicksand will be achieved, and you will no longer sink

4. Work the pole to a new position; under your hips and at right angles to your spine.

The pole will keep your hips from sinking, as you (slowly) pull out first one leg and then the other.

5. Take the shortest route to firmer ground, moving slowly.

Pour Conclure

Ideally, you should never visit anywhere where sinking into quicksand is a possibility. 

But we don't live in an ideal world.

Some of us love to explore, and cannot resist the siren's call of adventure.

If this is you, read up and arrive prepared.

The call of adventure

The information presented to you here today is from Joshua Piven's book, The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook - an excellent on-the-go addition to any hiking pack or bug-out-bag.

However, something like the SAS Survival Handbook will be more practical for everyday use while outdoors.


-Alexander @ Survival Cat


If you're gearing up for your next adventure, take a peek at our catalog and see if there is anything you'll need to accompany your travels.


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