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Now is the time to lift our nation from the

Two years later, Gold told reporters, "If I were at the controls of an Apollo vehicle hovering over the moon, I would not be willing to settle down for fear it would sink too much. Did Hollywood quicksand offer some catharsis, then, by giving form to the nation's colonial anxieties? Or did quicksand somehow flow in reverse, from the movie gag to the metaphor? The obsession with sinking in all its varieties-cinematic, metaphorical, astronomical-may reflect something deeper still: a sense of upheaval and a search for steady ground.

On Aug. In an era of radical change, the perils of muck and dust must have seemed self-evident. The landscape was shifting beneath our feet. Engber suggests that it wasn't just the end of 60s upheavals that ended the cinematic fixation with quicksand. It was also the fact that cinematic quicksand as represented in Tarzan movies simply didn't exist. There was no sand that could suck you in and kill you.

Not only was this idea debunked on a famous episode of Mythbusters , it was also the subject of debunking in prestigious scientific journals. So quicksand no longer worked as a political metaphor, nor was it a particularly scary threat in the movies either. In the past 10 years or so, physicists have started looking at more interesting formations of sediment, in places where grains of sand or clay are assembled in delicate, latticelike structures. Step in one of these, and it collapses like a house of cards-before reforming in a dense pack around your feet.


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Researchers now debate evidence of dry desert quicksands and treacherous pits of powdered snow. The physicist Dirk Kadau has described so-called "living quicksands" on the shores of drying lagoons in Brazil. There's even quicksand in grain silos, where several dozen U. Engber's article is completely fascinating, and represents one of the few sustained efforts to trace the way a natural phenomenon evolved both in the popular imagination and among scientists.

Check out the whole article, which is packed with interesting clips and references, on Slate. The A. Annalee Newitz. Lucky for us some other bikers came along an hour or so later and were able to help us out. It took 8 grown men to pull the bike out of the quick sand.

The Quicksands of Time

It can be some pretty scary stuff when your out in the middle of no where with no help in sight. I was on a hot air balloon safari in sub-saharan Africa last June. I saw some hippos so I ordered the balloonist to land as I love hippos. I approached the hippo with a big stick with a dab of feces on it and rubbed it in his ear. While working for the local zoo, I was sent to Africa with a video crew to film water fowl in their natural habitat.

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We spent weeks on site without any luck. My camera man and I decided that the problem was that we were too visible and were frightening the wild life. As we discussed the problem, a great idea came to mind, and the next day we came back in a hippo suit…………….. The Mythbusters did an interesting experiment with quicksand. Catch that episode if you can.

I guess the dry quicksand is similar to very powdery snow that builds up quite high, but is so fine that you can blow a deep crater into it with just a deep breath. Next there will be an article about R. From what I know, when you encounter a quicksand, you should lie back slowly. Try not to be too struggle and panicked. Relax and cool down. The best thing to do is to make slow movements and bring yourself to the surface, then just lie back.

Try visit the how stuff works website for further information. One thing about dry quicksand we are leaving out completely…How about grain storage bins? You hear this story all the time about farm accidents involving some JimBo falling into the grain and disappearing in seconds. Certainly, the physix of the whole thing has a lot in common with the dry form of quicksand.

Corn kernels, soy beans, or wheat grain are much larger than your typical grain of sand, and have much smaller contact area from which a force chain can result. So a heavy weight placed at the top of a pile of grain can quickly displace the grain below and sink quickly.

The rise and fall of quicksand.

And those accidents seem to happen more often when the grain is being transferred out of a bin; usually an auger pulls the grain from the bottom of the bin as gravity keeps the grain flowing. Pockets can develop in the bin as grain is pulled out from the bottom; to break up the pockets and keep the grain flowing people will sometimes jump into the bin, and they can find themselves buried very quickly.

Growing up in farm country, I was always told if you fell into a wagon or bin of grain to not try to stand up; instead lie flat to distribute the weight over a greater area. Then again, I get no kicks from Champagne. I saw something on Discovery channel…there is a similar phenomena in water when excess air or other gasas are released from the sea floor.

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The density of water is reduced and therefore, once buoyant objects…sink. The soil is beyond its saturation point, but because of the way it is stacked, it does not become a liquid. Given an earthquake, or such, however, it will, and it poses a pretty big threat. One such example, from Japan, I think:. As I understand it, they got the buildings righted again afterward, and since all the oversaturated soil was gone, there was no longer a threat. When I lived in Vegas, some friends and I would go off-road trucking.

There were certain places in the desert that if the truck slowed below about 30 m. It was a layer of superfine dust on top of the clay, just a few inches deep. From what I understand from the Mythbusters show on quicksand, the water has to be coming up continuously — an Artesian spring which comes up through sand. Sand on a beach is simply wet, there is nothing forcing additional water between the sand grains. The bay of Mt Saint Michel is a beautiful place and it is really tempting to go for a walk when the tide is low.

If you careless you can find yourself trap in the quicksand and this is when troubles start, because if, for sure, you are not about to sank in the sand and if nobody helps you to get out , it will be difficult to extract yourself of it. Anyway you can visit the bay with a guide by feet or by horse and it is, somehow, a mystic experience due to presence of the Mont itself.


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  6. Beaches are not quicksand because the water migrates up into the sand after it has already been deposited by liquid force and consolidated due to wave action and the weight of the sand. If you have a water pocket in the depositional sequence it could theoretically become quicksand, but I have never seen anything like this. Although, a mobile dune could migrate into tidal pools or such and probably create quicksand. Depending on the sands mineral composition, it can cause it to have some buoyancy. Most river sand is sub-angular mature quartz.

    It is mature, because most of the softer minerals have been eroded into silts and clays feldspars in particularly. I suppose the current could probably undercut a bank or something and form quicksand at a deeper level also. Most alluvial sands have a dry density of about pcf within a few feet of the surface. Maximum dry density of alluvial sands by the Standard Proctor Method is usually around pcf. That tells you several things, mostly that the sand is relatively consolidated to begin with, and the pores between the sand grains are most likely in a state of positive pore pressure, not allowing water to migrate into the sediment package.

    In the case of water loss, the sands are going to remain compacted, but they are going to exhibit negative pore pressure, allowing water to migrate back into the package when it becomes available. The overburden of the existing sediment will keep the sand compacted though, even against the buoyancy of the sand grains. Ok, about the sand dunes. Wind deposited aeolian sand is typically very mature, has well sorted grain sizes, and is rounded. Wind is a much more efficient erosional force than water, something on the order of about times. It also is very good at sorting sand, because wind can only transport the smaller particles, leaving the gravels behind.

    It also tends to pick up some silt as it is transported and deposited. I will state that aeolian sands are not entirely consistent everywhere. They can be beach or river sands that have been moved by wind, but in some instances they are actually glacial sediments glaciofluvial outwash. Essentially, these blew off the moraines from the last ice age. This is what the sandhills in Nebraska are.

    Density would increase as depth increased due to consolidation of the sediment from overburden. The silt is an important factor here though because ambient moisture will cause it to form a sort of weak matrix with the sand grains in the first 5 or so feet of sediment. Increased contact with moisture or any type of overburden will cause the matrix to collapse, but it makes for larger pore sizes in said upper layer.

    So aeolian sands have relatively more pore space than alluvial sands due to their small amount of consolidation. This would allow for more water to infiltrate the package, along with increased buoyancy due to smaller particle sizes. The same could be said about a sand dune migrating into a tidal pool or small water pocket along a river.

    This also implies some things about Peorian Loess that I had not previously though of, but thats for a different time and place. Anyway, this was my first post. This is what allows you to build sand castles.

    This is absolutely wrong. The effect that allows you to build sand castles is surface tension. The first was in south Alabama near a small pool of water found in the woods. I stepped onto a sandy beach and quickly sank up to my waist. Apparently the pool was fed by a spring which flowed under the sand. They pulled me out slowly with quite some effort, and I was barely able to keep my shoes on. The ruins are reputed to be the best preserved anywhere, probably because the site can only be accessed after a strenuous eight mile hike, most of which is along a sandy stream bed.

    The guides warn all visitors of the quicksand, which most often forms on the downstream side of boulders, since the surface water flows around the boulder but the subsurface water is pulled upwards and suspends the sand. The quicksand forms at other spots as well, particularly near the edge of the stream on the inside arcs, and we learned to anticipate it after a while. For the most part, the quicksand is no more than calf or knee deep, and is really just an annoyance. In regards to dry quicksand, I remember my father telling me about a death at his chemical plant that often gave me nightmares as a child.

    An operator was filling a boxcar full of a very fine chemical powder, which my father likened to microbeads used for fiberglass repair. The powder was blown in through a large flexible hose, somewhat like an air conditioning duct.


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    The boxcar was mostly full when the operator somehow fell in and sank to the bottom as if he were falling through air. The man apparently suffocated quickly, and was quite dead when they were finally able to fish him out. Clearly this quicksand is all a Chinese conspiracy to steal American shoe technology through the center of the earth. I was backpacking down Paria Canyon in northern Arizona, and repeatedly sank up to my knees.

    The areas of quicksand were small enough that I was able to get out with a bit of wading and squelching. Eventually I got pretty good at recognizing the good patches of sinking sand, and sometimes I would stand in it intentionally.