Friday, December 5, 2014

white sands national monument

there are so many incredibly facts about the white sands national monument. you should visit immediately.

1. it's a naturally occurring dune field made from gypsum sand, and it's the largest in the world, covering 275 square miles of desert. 
2. the national monument is adjacent to the white sands missile range, which means sometimes you can find unexploded projectiles in the sand. (don't touch them please!)
3. you can camp amongst the dunes. the views of the stars are spectacular. 
4. the dunes are situated over a water table; if you were to dig a 2+ foot hole and come back a couple of hours later, the hole would be filled with water. 
5. different areas of the dune field move at different paces. some of the dunes move between 20 and 30 feet in a year.
6. there are plants that can survive being covered up by the dunes. some of them, like the yucca plant below, grow tall enough so that a little bit of the top will remain above the sand to receive sunlight and pollination. when the dunes move and uncover those plants, they can continue to grow and thrive. 
7. each individual species of yucca plant is pollinated by its own special species of moth. 
8. some animals have adapted to blend into the sand, like the bleached earless lizard, and other animals haven't adapted at all, like the darkling beetle.