Death by Quicksand a Myth

As much as I love The Princess Bride, it perpetuates the myth that quicksand will take you under. And as Wesley so aptly stated, “We are men of action, lies do not become us.”

You may think it inconceivable, but research shows that quicksand doesn’t suck you in. It’s more dense then water and the greater the density, the greater the buoyancy. This makes objects take longer to sink. The conclusion of a MythBusters episode on this subject was that a victim would die from some other reason.

Here’s a video of a Brainiacs episode about quicksand that illustrates the same point.

Other references on the subject can be found at wikipedia, howstuffworks and word detective.


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  1. The truth about the truth regarding quicksand

    Comment by Nointeli on April 17, 2008 @ 3:16 pm
  2. Thanks for the link. I looked around a bit and found an excellent point, quoted below.

    The popular perception of quicksand has been created and sustained almost entirely by movies and television shows. According to such sources, quicksand is most often found in jungles and swamps, and anyone who becomes trapped in it is probably doomed unless they are the hero or the hero is suitably close at hand.

    Since this portrayal is so unrealistic, there is a reactionary popular view that quicksand is a myth and does not actually exist. Although it is true that “killer quicksand” (term borrowed from an episode of “Mythbusters”) does not exist (but see above about vegetable matter bogs), quicksand and similar substances certainly do exist.

    Comment by Dan on April 20, 2008 @ 12:10 am

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