What Happens If You Fall Into Quicksand?
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What Happens If You Fall Into Quicksand?

Cut! Alright everyone, that’s a wrap! Movies love quicksand. And why not? It’s exotic, it’s dramatic, and it’s highly exaggerated. Fun fact: it’s impossible to
become fully submerged in quicksand. But what could happen to you? The reason why you don’t
normally sink into the sand when you go to the beach is due to a physics phenomenon known as force chain. Basically, when a bajillion grains of sand are jammed together in one place, their weight gets distributed over a large area, keeping you and your camels
safely above ground. But if any water happens to seep up from underground, it will mix with the sand to create a surface
that looks solid, but isn’t… It’s true that real quicksand isn’t
like what you see at the movies. The reason why you won’t
sink right through is because quicksand is rarely more
than a few feet deep. And even if it was deeper than that,
humans are only half as dense as quicksand, so really, you couldn’t sink
much lower than your waist. That is, unless you struggle. Quicksand is a non-Newtonian fluid,
meaning its viscosity changes under stress. In high stress conditions, like being under
the weight of your body, quicksand changes. It becomes liquid, causing you to sink. So if you panic, and start
frantically trying to get out, the rapid shifting of your weight will
only suck you down deeper and faster. On the other hand, quicksand
gets thicker over time. So if you just hang around and do nothing,
it’ll be harder for you to get out. Every minute you’re stuck in quicksand
increases the risk that you’ll suffer from dehydration, starvation, sun stroke, or hypothermia. And if that doeesn’t give you chills,
those hungry looking eyes might. Depending on where you are,
you might even drown! Quicksand is often found near the sea because it’s easier for water
to rise up through the sand. So if you’re ever caught in the coast,
be sure to keep an eye on the time. At best, you’ll only have six hours
before the tide changes. But if not trying to escape, and trying too hard,
are both bad choices, then what are you supposed to do
if you get stuck in quicksand? The trick is to stay calm. First, get rid of any heavy items that
you’re wearing or carrying, as they’ll only drag you deeper. Then, try to lean as far back as you can
to create more space for yourself. Water will come in and fill the gaps you create,
which will make it easier for you to move and pull your body towards the surface. If you can, grab a stick and
wedge it underneath your back; this will help to increase your leverage. Hopefully, you’ll get help
from emergency services. But if not, you can use these tips
to get out on your own. It will be a long and exhausting process since, just to free your foot from
a puddle of quicksand, moving at a rate of one centimeter per second, it would require the same amount of force
as it does to lift a small car. And once you’re free,
you’ll probably be in a lot of pain. With all that pressure from
the densely packed sand, you might emerge from the quicksand with
permament nerve damage, or without a leg. If you do manage to
come out in one piece, well, maybe tread a little more
carefully in the future. But don’t let this one sucky experience
keep you from another adventure. Put your best foot forward, and take a walk
on the wild side, next time on ‘What If.’


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