How to Make Quicksand

Did you know that quicksand is rarely more than a couple of feet deep? A natural phenomenon caused by overly wet sand, it can occur almost anywhere — on riverbanks, at the beach, in a marsh.

Quicksand is never predictable, appearing when the conditions are just right, but there are places where it is more commonly seen. In Okinawa, Japan there lives a forest of mangrove trees that grow around the estuaries of the Oura River. While it may be more mud than sand, this earth can certainly swallow a limb or two if you are not careful.

As luck would have it, the quicksand once portrayed in (old) movies bares little resemblance to the real thing. In fact, surviving a fall into the not-so-deep abyss will rarely result in much more than an uncomfortable situation. The trick is to stay calm since the more you flail about, the more you sink. Remain perfectly still and you will slowly but surely float to the top.

Have you ever heard of oobleck? Create your very own “quicksand” at home to see how it reacts to your touch. I did it with my girls and we were all amazed by the magical properties of this water and cornstarch mixture.

Join the Conversation!