White Sands – the Largest Gypsum Desert in the World, USA

White Sands – the Largest Gypsum Desert in the World, USA

The White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA. Situated at an elevation of 1291 m (4235 ft) in the Tularosa Basin, White Sands is a dazzling natural wonder. The dunes are made of gypsum crystals, thus the white color. It is also the largest dune field of gypsum in the whole world. The area is a home for lizards, pocket mouse and insects, that have evolved a white color to merge with the landscape.

It is indeed a unique place, because usually gypsum – a water-soluble substance – is rinsed to the sea. However the basin traps it here, creating these vast white soft fields. Interesting detail: the dunes are moved not only by wind, but also gravity, which moves them forward, when finally a steep dune crumbles down thus constantly changing the face of the monument.

Why to go there?

One of the most beautiful and unique places in New Mexico. Definitely worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.

When to got here?

All year round, although always check before going. As the monument is situated next to the White Sands Missile Range, it is sometimes closed during the missile tests. The last time closure dates took place was in November 2014.

How to get there?

The visitor center is found on Highway US-70, which lies between Alamogordo and Las Cruces. The best way to get there is by car from the mentioned cities or El Paso. Also bus or van tours within the monument are available through reservations.

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Photo by Unknown

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Photo by Unknown

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Photo by Unknown

White Sands-Photo by Chris Sanner

Photo by Chris Sanner

White Sands-Photo by Michael Keel

Photo by Michael Keel

White Sands-Photo by Tom DiMatteo

Photo by Tom DiMatteo

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Photo by Unknown

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Photo by Unknown

White Sands-Photo by PDTillman

Photo by PDTillman

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