2018-12-06

Chihuahuan Desert | The Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes

Unique throughout the planet are the white dunes in the Desierto de Chihuahua, which is considered the largest of North America. It covers over 518,000 square kilometers and extends deep into northern Mexico's central plateau, southwestern United States. It occupies much of West Texas. Numerous endemic plant species prove that the desert may be the most biologically varied desert and the largest created by plaster in the world.

the Desierto de Chihuahua, which is considered the largest of North America as it covers over 518,000 square kilometers and extends deep into Mexico's central plateau

Chihuahuan Desert


The area with plastered, whitewashed dunes covers about 712 square kilometers, with some of them reaching a height of 18 meters.


About 40% of dunes are protected as they are located within the National Monument established in the early 20th century. The remaining 60% is within the United States military space, and access to the public is limited.


Although gypsum is one of the most common minerals found on Earth, it is rarely found on its surface.


First Photo — Flickr


Chihuahuan Desert  | The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes
Photo — Flickr

The Chihuahuan desert

This is because it easily dissolves in water. This desert of white sand began about 100 million years ago when a shallow sea covered the area.

When the waters receded and evaporated, thick layers of salt and gypsum made their appearance as they covered the ancient scenery of the seabed.

National Monument that has been established since the early 20th century, while the remaining 60% is within United States military space and access to the public is limited.
Photo — Flickr

Chihuahuan desert temperature

With the high temperature of the desert, fine plaster sand was transferred from the solid western winds, and massive white dunes were created. The average annual temperature in the desert varies from about 13 to 22 °C (55 to 72 °F)


Geologists define sand as any substance consisting of a mineral with a diameter of between 0.065 and 2 mm. Most of the sand on the Earth consists of quartz. However, New Mexico's white dunes comprised of 98% pure gypsum sand.


Geologists define as sand any substance consisting of a mineral with a diameter of between 0.065 and 2 mm. Most of the sand on the Earth consists of quartz. However, New Mexico's white sand dunes consist of 98% pure gypsum sand.
Photo — Flickr

Texas desert

The areas between the dunes in the white desert are an exciting environment for the wildlife and flora that grows there, as more than 300 plants can be found.


Plants that survive on this alkaline soil, with inadequate nutrients, must be able to adapt and endure high levels of salt in the ground, drought, and freezing temperatures of -38 degrees Celsius.


Chihuahuan Desert, The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes, The Chihuahuan desert, Chihuahuan desert temperature and Desert species, Texas deserts,
Photo — Flickr

Chihuahuan Desert species

n addition, over 250 species of birds survive, many species of insects, 50 species of mammals, seven species of amphibians, one species of fish, and 30 reptile species.

Some animals found in the dune field have adapted and evolved into their harsh white environment, such as mice with almost white fur, not to be traced by its predators.

Chihuahuan Desert, The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes, The Chihuahuan desert, Chihuahuan desert temperature and Desert species, Texas deserts,
Photo — Flickr

Also, there have been traces of mammoths and other giant animals, as well as prehistoric people.

The uniqueness and beauty of the white dunes have long been recognized and designated a national monument in 1933.

Chihuahuan Desert, The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes, The Chihuahuan desert, Chihuahuan desert temperature and Desert species, Texas deserts,
Photo — Flickr

Today, over 500,000 visitors each year go to the white desert to explore and experience this unique natural wonder.

Chihuahuan Desert, The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes, The Chihuahuan desert, Chihuahuan desert temperature and Desert species, Texas deserts,

Chihuahuan desert map


Chihuahuan Desert, The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes, The Chihuahuan desert, Chihuahuan desert temperature and Desert species, Texas deserts, Chihuahuan desert map

Chihuahuan Desert, The  Land of Massive Gypsum White Sand Dunes, The Chihuahuan desert, Chihuahuan desert temperature and Desert species, Texas deserts, Chihuahuan desert map

Source | Livescience | Wikipedia

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