Excerpt from Valley 101: The Great Big Book of Life, a collection of Clay Thompson’s columns for The Arizona Republic. (Originally published February 1, 2004.)
Q: Is There Quicksand in Arizona?
A: Yes, there is quicksand in Arizona. Not a lot, I suppose, because we’re so dry, but it is not at all unusual to find quicksand along the banks of an Arizona stream or at a place where water might be flowing underground, like along the Hassayampa River or some place like that.
Quicksand basically is sand floating on water. The water reduces the friction between the grains of sand to the point where the mixture cannot support much weight and you get bogged down in it.
If you did happen to get stuck in quicksand, your chances of really getting sucked under are slim because it generally isn’t all that deep. Stay calm, make slow movements and you’ll just kind of float in the stuff. Thrash around a lot and you’ll just make it worse. Come to think of it, staying calm, moving slowly and not thrashing around so much is pretty good advice for much of life.