New Mexico Tech Research and Development
Sands National Monument preserves a major part
of this gypsum dune field, along with the plants
and animals that have adapted successfully to this
constantly changing environment.At the northern end of the Chihuahuan Desert lies
a mountain-EMRTCringed valley, the Tularosa Basin. Rising
from the heart of this basin
is one of the wo
great natural wonders-the glistening white sands
of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum
sand have engulfed 275 square mi
- les of desert
here and created the largest gypsum dune field
in the wo building and laboratory space outside the EMRTC facility complex.
The dunes, brilliant and white, are ever changing.
They grow, crest, then slump but always advance.
Slowly but relentlessly the sand, driven by strong
southwest winds, covers everything in its path.
Within the extremely harsh environment of the
dune field, even plants and animals adapted to
desert conditions struggle to survive. Only a few
species o Phillips Laboratory and additional funding from the New Mexico Tech Vice President for Research and Economic Development.
- f plants grow rapidly enough to survive
burial by the moving dunes, but several types
of small animals have evolved white colorations
to camouflage them in the gypsum sand. White
Sands National Monument preserv