White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument (NM) is located in the Tularosa Basin of the Chihuahuan Desert in south-central New Mexico and is part of the largest white gypsum dune field in the world. Desert scrub and a large playa are present on the western side of the park. The monument ranges in elevation from 3,890 feet to 4,116 feet. The monument includes about 40% of the approximately 275 total square miles of gypsum dune fields in this area, the remainder is on military land. The dune field is very dynamic, with the most active dunes moving to the northeast at a rate of up to 30 feet per year. Many species of plants and animals have developed very specialized means of surviving in this area of cold winters, hot summers, with very little surface water and highly mineralized ground water.