Is quicksand really that deadly?

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A person trapped in salt-lake quicksand is not in any danger of being sucked under completely.

People or animals caught in quicksand find it very hard to escape. Here we show that quicksand acts as a trap because it becomes unstable when it is forced to move — first it liquefies, and then it collapses. But a simple sinking test demonstrates that it is impossible for a human to be drawn into quicksand altogether.

Source: “Rheology: Liquefaction of quicksand under stress” from Nature 437, 635 (29 September 2005)

Hat tip to the very informative podcast Stuff You Should Know.

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