• The dunes in soft light

    White Sands

    National Monument New Mexico

Natural Features & Ecosystems

One of the most outstanding features of White Sands National Monument is its unique geology. Without it, the white sands of New Mexico would not be here!


Cuatro Ciénegas
Whereas White Sands National Monument is the largest gypsum dunefield at 275 square miles, its sister park, Cuatro Ciénegas in central Mexico, is the world's second largest gypsum dunefield, with an area of just eight square miles.

Did You Know?

Photo of ripples on a dune

The wind moves small sand grains by bouncing them along the surface in a process called "saltation." Saltating sand grains create a beautiful pattern of ripples on the dune surface. Larger sand grains are struck by saltating grains and slowly roll forward, a process known as "surface creep."