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Friday, December 27, 2013

A Hike in the Gypsum

Tourists populate the dunes
White Sands National Monument, located about 20 miles southwest of Alamogordo, New Mexico at an elevation of 4235 feet, is composed primarily of gypsum sand dunes that cover an area of 275 square miles of Chihuahuan Desert.  From the National Park Service's website:  "The gypsum that makes up the white sands starts out as clear, translucent sand grains. As the wind bounces the sand grains along the ground, they collide and scratch each other. The scratches change the way light reflects off the grains, making the sand appear white."
Sledding on plastic saucers is a popular activity

People often fail to scale steep dunes

Footprints in gypsum

You'll definitely get an aerobic workout doing this

Trail markers like this are constantly buried in shifting dunes

Ripples in the gypsum

A woman looks toward 12,003-foot Sierra Blanca (White Mountain) . . .

before moving on


Dr. K said...

The dunes seem to sparkle with tiny particles of gypsum.

Unknown said...

More of your terrific photos, Rob. Thanks.

I had no idea such a great desert of gypsum existed. What a fantastic place NM must be.

packrat said...

Thank you, Richard. I really appreciate your comment here.

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