Shady spots are hard to come by in the arid landscape of New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument. These shelters in the rest area provide a bit of relief from the heat, especially in summer, when the sun reflects off the white dunes to create a blinding sweatbox. The rolling dunes aren’t ordinary waves of sand—they’re made of gypsum, a soft, chalky sulfate mineral. It covers 275 square miles of desert here to create the world’s largest gypsum dunefield. And it’s not the bleak, sandy wasteland that it may at first appear—it’s teeming with flora and fauna if you know where to look. Aside from the birds and mammals that live here, White Sands is home to a variety of insects, reptiles, and even amphibians.
Peter Burgstaller/Gallery Stock1.1.m17
White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located in the state of New Mexico on the north side of Route 70 about 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Doña Ana County. The monument is situated at an elevation of 4,235 feet in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin and comprises the southern part of a 275 sq mi field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. The gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth.
Website: https://www.nps.gov/whsa/index.htm Address: Dunes Dr, Alamogordo, NM 88310 Phone: (505) 479-6124 Established: Jun 23, 1988 Area: 224.58 sq miles (581.67 km²) Managed by: National Park Service