White Sands National Monument by aglennc

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument is in the northern Chihuahuan Desert of New Mexico and is known for its dramatic landscape of rare white gypsum sand dunes. Trails through the dunes include the raised boardwalk and the Dune Life Nature Trail, dotted with interpretive exhibits on wildlife and other features.

The area’s white sands are not composed of quartz, like most desert sands, but of gypsum and calcium sulfate. Unlike other desert sands, it is cool to the touch, due to the high rate of evaporation of surface moisture and the fact that the sands reflect, rather than absorb, the sun's rays. At 3888 feet ((1185 meters) above sea level, there are approximately 55 square miles (442 square km) of dune fields and is known to be the world's largest surface deposit of gypsum.

Gypsum is one of the most common mineral compounds found on Earth but is rarely seen on the surface, as it dissolves easily in water. The origin of this desert dates back to around 100 million years ago, during which it was covered by a shallow sea. As its waters gradually receded, saltwater lakes were left behind, which eventually evaporated in the sun. In addition to the salt, gypsum was also laid down in thick deposits on the old seabed.

For years my Dad worked at “the gyp plant” where they processed gypsum into wallboard.
October 23rd, 2018  
Gypsum - that would be very fine sand! Never knew about these dunes - so worth a photo!
October 23rd, 2018  
Isn't this place amazing? It's kind of hard on the mind, because my mind kept telling me it was snow the whole time we were there even though we were in shorts and barefoot. Did you go sledding? We had a blast sledding on the dunes.
October 23rd, 2018  
@homeschoolmom No sledding. Didn't know you could. We were on a tour/ And, yes, it does look like snow. Interesting what it does to the mind! I had similar thoughts -- beach sand!
October 23rd, 2018  
@maggiemae This area is fascinating. Made my mind think of beach sand. Looked like snow! My husband was here 30 years ago when he was working on a project in the area.
October 23rd, 2018  
@pandorasecho Interesting. Were was that My husband was here 30 years when working on a project somewhere near here.
October 23rd, 2018  
@aglennc it was in Cody Wyoming. The gypsum there was buried and had to be mined but not from very deep.
October 23rd, 2018  
October 23rd, 2018  
@pandorasecho Oh, I should have remembered! You are from Cody.
October 23rd, 2018  
It looks just like snow! Very interesting information. Thank you Anita.
October 24th, 2018  
Great shot. What an amazing sight
October 28th, 2018  
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