Brief Communications

Nature 437, 635 (29 September 2005) | doi:10.1038/437635a; Published online 28 September 2005

Rheology: Liquefaction of quicksand under stress

A. Khaldoun1, E. Eiser2, G. H. Wegdam1 & Daniel Bonn1,3

People or animals caught in quicksand find it very hard to escape1. Here we show that quicksand acts as a trap because it becomes unstable when it is forced to move — first it liquefies, and then it collapses. But a simple sinking test demonstrates that it is impossible for a human to be drawn into quicksand altogether.

  1. Van der Waals-Zeeman Institute, 1018 XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. HIMS, University of Amsterdam, 1018 XE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. Laboratoire de Physique Statistique de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure, 75231 Paris, Cedex 5 France

Correspondence to: Daniel Bonn1,3 Email:


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Supplementary Information

Nature Materials Letter (01 Feb 2010)