Ranger taking photos of mammoth tracks

Ranger taking photos of mammoth tracks

NPS Photo

Buried Treasures

You may not know it, but some pretty exciting things are buried beneath the dunes! From mammoths to predators, the wind has uncovered some fantastic finds.

As you walk through the dunefield, it's hard to think of this vast undulating landscape as having once been first beneath a shallow inland sea and then, millions of years later, under a giant lake. But this was indeed the case.

Today, around the edges of what was once Lake Otero, researchers are finding the long buried tracks of Columbian mammoths, a species of prehistoric camel, and much more. In fact, there are so many trackways preserved in the monument's gypsum soils, the White Sands has been designated a mega-trackway because it has the largest concentration of Pleistocene trackways in North America. Long ago, large herds of creatures roamed the Tularosa basin. Below, you will find information on research going on in the monument regarding these unique and exciting finds.


Mammoth Prints from the Upper Pleistocene of the Tularosa Basin
Footprints on the Alkali Flat in Doña Ana County were discovered as early as 1932.

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