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White Sands National Monument

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White Sands National Monument
Alamogordo, New Mexico
Voice: 505-479-6124

17 miles Southwest of Alamogordo Via U.S. 70

Due to missile testing on the adjacent White Sands Missile Range, it is occasionally necessary, for visitor safety, to close the Dunes Drive for periods of up to three hours. U.S. Highway 70 between Alamogordo and Las Cruces is also closed during times of missile testing.

At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies a mountain ringed valley called the Tularosa Basin. Rising from the heart of this basin is one of the world's great natural wonders - the glistening white sands of New Mexico.

Here, great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert and have created the world's largest gypsum dune field. The brilliant white dunes are ever changing: growing, cresting, then slumping, but always advancing. Slowly but relentlessly the sand, driven by strong southwest winds, covers everything in its path. Within the extremely harsh environment of the dune field, even plants and animals adapted to desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few species of plants grow rapidly enough to survive burial by moving dunes, but several types of small animals have evolved a white coloration that camouflages them in the gypsum sand.

White Sands National Monument preserves a major portion of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants and animals that have successfully adapted to this constantly changing environment.



Picture and information were was provide by the National Parks Service

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