JUN 04, 2018 10:03 AM PDT

The trick to surviving quicksand

Getting stuck in quicksand really isn't the way you want to go. But here are some tricks you should know in case you ever find yourself in a sticky situation.

Quicksand is a mix of fine sand, clay, and salt water that thickens over time and is very sensitive to any sort of pressure. That's why you find yourself sinking over a matter of minutes after getting sucked in, and why the worst thing that you can do is try to wiggle and jiggle yourself out - that will just get you more stuck. Because your body is less dense than the quicksand, sinking isn't actually really a worry unless you're holding heavy items or you struggle and disturb the quicksand more. What's more of a worry is the intense pressure that the quicksand puts on your submerged body parts. If you're chest deep, you will likely begin to have difficulty breathing because of the pressure on your lungs. 

What you need to do next, after calming yourself down, is slowly lay your back down into the quicksand (don't worry, you'll float!) and slowly, slowly, slowly move your legs and core so that they're floating on the surface, too. The key here is slow-motion so that you don't disturb the quicksand more. Then, with your hands only and without submerging all of your arms, paddle yourself to the edge of the deathtrap! Or, as this guy did, you can just call the Coast Guard!

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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