1. Quicksand, that most convenient of menaces in jungle-set fiction, is a mixture of fine granular materials (think silt or, d-uh, sand), clay and water. (Sometimes the water can be replaced by air and form “dry quicksand.”)
2. Silt actually is a more common component of quicksand than is sand. (“Quicksilt” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
3. Quicksand forms when sand gets saturated and then the water gets agitated but can’t escape; it then loses its ability to support weight. (Lesson: don’t agitate the water, man!)
4. Contrary to what we see in movies and read in books, it’s rare that a person who falls into quicksand would actually become submerged in it; however, a person could sink enough to be trapped in it and unable to get out. (I grew up in a place that fits that description.)
5. Quicksand is most likely to occur in riverbanks, beaches, lake shorelines, marshes and near underground springs.
6. It’s true that struggling in quicksand – or just about any quick movement – causes you to sink more. Slow movements are much more effective.
7. In an animated TV show from 1969, Batman and Robin escape from a vat of quicksand which Catwoman has tricked them into courtesy of rockets in their boots. (Lesson: Proper footwear is so important.)
8. At least 3 episodes of the soap opera Days of Our Lives utilize quicksand as a plot gimmick. (And I imagine some soaps have used it even more often.)
9. Quicksand is much more common than you might think – but most quicksand is only a few inches deep.
10. A lot of what is called quicksand is really just mud or spongy ground. But whatever you call it, it’s still a yucky mess.