15 April 2011

The Setting: White Sands, New Mexico

Welcome to White Sands, NM
712 square kilometers (275 square miles) of gypsum dunes. Situated in the centre of the Tularosa Basin, shouldered between the San Andres and Sacramento Mountains in southern New Mexico, USA.

White Sands is a young island, with deposition of calcium sulphate dihydrate having occurred between 6000 and 2000 years ago. Once a large inland water body (Lake Otero), White Sands is now the largest active gypsum dune field in the world. With some dunes crawling eastward as much as 9 meters (30 feet) every year, White Sands is one of the most dynamic and unusual ecosystems in North America. The ground is blinding white, vegetation is sparse and the little creatures that call White Sands home, are... different.