The White Sand Dunes Of New Mexico Are A Weird And Wonderful Place

The White Sands National Monument is a land as strange and unique as it is beautiful.

It’s found in the depths of New Mexico, a few blasts away from a missile testing site. Up there with its most stunning feature is its 710-square-kilometer (274 square miles) field of sand composed of gypsum crystals – the largest in the world.

This time-lapse video, shot by Harun Mehmedinovic as part of the SKYGLOW project, takes a wander around this stunning place and documents its beautifully shifting dunes. When strong winds hit the dunes, they slowly change shape and seemingly creep along the ground.

Gypsum is water soluble, so it’s usually washed away by rainwater. Therefore it’s unusual to find such large quantities of the stuff. However, this blisteringly dry field of dunes is trapped in a basin, meaning the gypsum crystals can never escape.

Due to this uniquely white sand, many of the area’s inhabitants have evolved to become lighter and lighter over the course of thousands of years, including species of white moths, white spiders, white crickets, and even white lizards,

As you can also see in the video, its relative isolation also means it’s an exceptional place to stargaze. The drive of the SKYGLOW project is to explore the effect of light pollution in North America and help spread the word how gorgeous the night sky could be without the fuzz of artificial light.

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