White Sands National Monument in New Mexico

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See the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Not all sand is created equal. Set amidst a desert in New Mexico is the White Sands National Monument, which is described as a one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.

Located in a park that is West of Alamogordo, it is comprised of 275 square miles of desert.

The desert is home to world's largest gypsum dune field, known as White Sands National Monument.

White sands are usually composed of quartz, however these dunes are home to gypsum and calcium sulfate filled sands.

Gypsum initially starts out as clear sand grains, but as the wind carries the grains across the ground, the particles collide and scratch which causes light to reflect in a different way, giving the white, glistening appearance.

The sands are cool to touch, caused by an increase in surface evaporation. The sands also reflect rather than absorb the sun’s rays.

The White Sands National Monument has three nature trails and one extended hiking path. The dunes are also home to various species of wildlife.

The white sands wood rat, the prairie lizard, the bleached earless lizard and the Apache pocket mouse are signatures of the area.

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