Saturday, 19 March 2011

"White Sands National Mounment" New Mexico, Amazing Places Photos

Porcelain desert or the glistening white sands is like no other place on earth. This awesome natural wonder is located in New Mexico. Amazing wave-like dunes of gypsum sand are engulfing 275 square miles of desert creating beautiful dune field. Porcelain desert officially known as White Sands National Monument is the biggest gypsum dune field in the world. The main road past White Sands National Monument is US 70; this is closed to all traffic for a few hours once or twice a week as test missiles are fired overhead. A paved road leads from the visitor center at the monument entrance on US 70 to the start of the sands 2 miles north.

The edge dunes are just a few feet high and support some plant life, with several species of grass, yucca and saltbush managing to survive at scattered points, but further into the monument there is little or no vegetation, just an unbroken white landscape. The road is paved for a while although blowing sand often covers the surface; towards the center though, the surface is just compacted gypsum, and the ‘road’ becomes a series of large cleared areas, which can be adapted to changes in dune position, as the sands move by up to 20 feet per year. In this surreal environment, everything is white, dazzlingly bright and intensely hot in summer, capped on most days by a clear blue sky.

The White Sands National Monument is a U.S. National Monument located about 25 km southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Dona Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 4235 feet . The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin valley area and comprises the southern part of a 710-km² field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. The first exploration was led by a party of US Army officers in 1849.The Mescalero Apache were already living in the area at the time. The idea of creating a national park here goes back at least to 1898, when a group in El Paso proposed a Mescalero Their idea was for a game hunting preserve, which conflicted with the idea of preservation held by the Department of the Interior, and their plan was not successful.

In 1921-1922 Albert Bacon Fall, United States Secretary of the Interior and owner of a large ranch in Three Rivers near White Sands, promoted the idea of a national park there an “All-Year National Park” that, unlike more northerly parks, would be usable all year round. This idea ran into a number of difficulties and did not succeed. Tom Charles, an Alamogordo insurance agent and civic booster, was influenced by Fall’s ideas. By emphasizing the economic benefits Charles was able to mobilize enough support to have the park created.

Road into White Sands National Monument. The pavement further in is replaced by plowed sand.



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