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White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA

32.7N 106.2W

January 20th, 2010 Category: Snapshots

USA - January 5th, 2010

USA - January 5th, 2010

While many of the white areas in this image are due to snowfall over mountain peaks and valleys and some clouds, the rounded white patch just below the center is an area of bright white sand dunes known as the White Sands National Monument.

This U.S. National Monument located is about 25 km (15 miles) southwest of Alamogordo in western Otero County and northeastern Dona Ana County in the state of New Mexico, at an elevation of 4235 feet (1291 m). The area is in the mountain-ringed Tularosa Basin valley area and comprises the southern part of a 710-km² (275-mi²) field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals.

Unlike dunes made of quartz-based sand crystals, the gypsum does not readily convert the sun’s energy into heat and thus can be walked upon safely with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months.

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