We took a short drive up Dunes Road at White Sands Nat’l Monument yesterday on our way to our present camping spot in Deming, NM. After a few miles, the pavement ended and we were driving on the white sand. In the photo below, you can see dunes and footprints on some of the softer gypsum sand.
Having seen this impressive natural sandpile, we asked “How did this get here?” The answer is it’s the sediment left behind by an ancient sea.
Geology of White Sands
The story of the world’s largest gypsum dunefield began 280 million years ago when the Permian Sea covered this area and gypsum settled on the sea floor. The formation of the dunefield continues today in an endless cycle of erosion and renewal.
We didn’t have time to get out and play in the sand this time. Maybe when we come through here next spring we will take the time to do so.