Movie Hype or Real Life: Where Can You Encounter Quicksand in Michigan?
The more time I spend on social media, the more I am convinced we all grew up watching movies and TV shows that had us convinced quicksand was going to be a major, regular inconvenience when we grew up.
However, not having encountered quicksand in my entire lifetime here in Michigan, does it even exist here? Turns out, it can actually happen!
What Even is Quicksand?
Usually in the movies, characters would be running along their merry way when all of a sudden, they'd stop, look down and realize they were sinking in quicksand. While it definitely seems plausible, is that really how it works?
"Quicksand usually consists of sand or clay and salt that’s become waterlogged, often in river deltas. The ground looks solid, but when you step on it the sand begins to liquefy," BBC shared in their reporting on if quicksand can actually kill you. "But then the water and sand separate, leaving a layer of densely packed wet sand which can trap it. The friction between the sand particles is much-reduced, meaning it can’t support your weight anymore and at first you do sink."
However, when BBC consulted Daniel Bonn from the University of Amsterdam, he shared an experiment he did where he took a sample of quicksand, recreated it and replicated what it would be like for a human to struggle in the fabled foe that is quicksand.
Based on Bonn's findings, it's true the more you struggle, stirring up that wet sand, the more you sink but eventually it stops and you can basically float back up. Quicksand itself won't kill you.
Is There Quicksand in Michigan?
A short answer, given the definition of quicksand given by BBC, yes it is entirely possible!
Where there's sand and water, there can be quicksand. That's actually what happened along a beach in Frankfort, Michigan, as shown by Only In Your State when a family experimented with quicksand:
Just recently, in 2020, MLive reported that Midland, Michigan was warning residents of "quicksand-like lake beds" that were form(ed)ing due to the flooding caused by the Edenville Dam failure and Sanford Dam breach. One person had to be rescued after sinking into soil that had a quicksand-like effect.
Quicksand? Yes. A Common Problem? Not so Much.
While, yes, quicksand can occur, it's not something you will just be walking along one day and have to fight for your life like we've seen growing up.
Maybe, all those dramatic quicksand scenes we all watched were metaphors.
Hear me out here, the quicksand symbolizes how the world can make you feel like you are sinking, like it's swallowing you up. The more you try to fight and resist the path you're on, the more it can feel like you're sinking.
If you just stop, take a breath and relax, you'll float back up to where you need to be...and that's kind of beautiful, isn't it?
Quicksand is a (relatively) unique occurrence and is something to respect but not necessarily fear in our daily lives like we were led to believe.
Here's a few beach towns that definitely could experience quicksand:
LOOK: Here are the 50 best beach towns in America