Travel to New Mexico to learn interesting facts about White Sands National Monument, the world’s largest gypsum dunes.
White Sands National Monument remains closed due to COVID-19. Plan now for when it begins to reopen. Check for the latest Coronavirus updates here.
Interesting Facts about White Sands
• The White Sands Monument contains 275 square miles of desert located within the Chihuahuan Desert.
• The Chihuahuan Desert is the largest North American desert.
• The White Sands desert was created almost 10,000 years ago.
• Strong winds can wipe out the park road with sand in a matter of hours.
Worlds’ largest gypsum dunes
• The gypsum dust can be blown hundreds of miles away when winds are strong.
• Scientists and researchers come from all over the world to study the unusual plants, animals and geology.
• White Sands has the largest concentration of Age of Mammals footprints in the US. Paleontologists have discovered mammoth, saber tooth cat, ancient camels, ground sloth and dire wolf fossil footprints.
• These are the world’s largest gypsum dunes. Plaster and drywall is made from gypsum.
• The desert lies between the San Andres and Sacramento mountain ranges.
• White species of insects, lizards, moths and mice that can only found here. These species adapted to their environment and changed colour thousands of years ago.
•There are 40 types of moths found only in White Sands.
• The 13-inch Kangaroo Rat lives in the vegetated areas and can jump ten feet high.
• The Apache pocket mouse lives in the dunes and can exist without drinking a drop of water.
• A variety of plants can only be found here.
• More than 20 major movies have been filmed here since the 1950s. Commercials, documentaries, TV shows and music videos have also utilized the unique landscape.
• NASA built the White Sands Test Facility in 1963 on the nearby White Sands Missile Range.
• White Sands highest elevation is 4,116 feet (1,255m) above sea level.
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