Dark Side of the Dune

February 24, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

For our Christmas vacation in 2014 we took a 3000+ mile road trip through New Mexico and western Texas.  It's amazing country, for the most part barren but punctuated with pockets of sublime beauty.  White Sand National Monument in New Mexico is one such place.  

When we arrived in late afternoon the sun was casting shadows that creeped and morphed into fantastic shapes with each passing minute.  

Dark Side of the Dune, White Sands National Monument, AZDark Side of the Dune, White Sands National Monument, AZAt 275 sq miles (710 km2) the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is the largest gypsum sand dune field in the world.
Gypsum is water soluble and normally would end up in the sea through natural water action. However, the Tularosa Basin is enclosed and has no outlet to the sea. Gypsum located in the surrounding hills is dissolved by rain and collected as selenite, a crystalline form of gypsum, in the valley bottom.


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