White Sands National Park Bing

c/o Bing Wallpaper 5/5/21

Overview: -White Sands National Park is a national park in the United States that is surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range. It is in the state of New Mexico. In the Tularosa Basin, the park occupies 145,762 acres (227.8 sq mi; 589.9 km2), including the southern 41 percent of a 275 sq mi (710 km2) area of white gypsum crystal sand dunes. With a depth of about 30 feet (9.1 m), dunes as tall as 60 feet (18 m), and 4.5 billion short tonnes (4.1 billion metric tonnes) of gypsum sand, this gypsum dune field is the largest of its kind on Earth

Large lakes, streams, grasslands, and Ice Age mammals were present on the land within the Tularosa Basin approximately 12,000 years ago. Rain and snowmelt from the nearby mountains melted gypsum and carried it into the basin as the atmosphere warmed. The lakes evaporated and formed selenite crystals as the climate warmed and dried. The crystals were then broken up and carried east by strong winds. Today, gypsum sand is still made using a similar method.

White Sands National Park – Wikipedia :- History

Controversy about a World Heritage Site;-

On January 22, 2008, White Sands was added to a provisional list of possible World Heritage Sites.

Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman, the state’s two U.S. Senators, both wrote letters of support for the request.  U.S. Representative Stevan Pearce refused to support the application, saying,  “I can guarantee that if White Sands Monument receives this designation, there will at some point be foreign pressures exerted that might interrupt military operations as we know them today,” 

The WHS application ignited a huge debate in Otero County, with  most of it taking place at Otero County Commission meetings. On August 16, 2007, the commision received a petition with 1,200 signatures opposing the application.   On August 23, 2007, the commision passed a resolution opposing the application, and on October 18, 2007, the commision passed Ordinance 07-05, which governs any future World Heritage Site designations in the county.

The ordinance stipulates that “no world heritage site…will be located on or adjacent to any military land…within or adjacent to the boundaries of Otero County,” and that “no world heritage site…will be located on or adjacent to any military land…within or adjacent to the boundaries of Otero County.” Following the announcement of the WHS tentative list on January 24, 2008, the commission directed the county attorney to write a letter to the Secretary of the Interior requesting that WSNM be removed from the list.

White Sands National Park – Wikipedia :- National parks Bill

White Sands National Park – Wikipedia :- Geography

Climate – White Sands National Park has a continental or cold semi-arid climate that borders on a cold desert climate, according to the Köppen climate classification system . Though its relatively high elevation and low precipitation cause a higher diurnal temperature variation and shorter growing season than would be typical of a humid subtropical climate , the daily means resemble those of a humid subtropical climate . The growing season lasts about six months on average, from April 27 to October 19.

The warmest months are April through October, when the average high temperature approaches or exceeds 79 °F (26 °C) and the normal mean temperature ranges from 60–81 °F (16–27 °C). In June and July, afternoon temperatures average about 97 degrees Fahrenheit (36 degrees Celsius97 °F (36 °C). The highest temperature ever recorded was 111 °F (44 °C) on June 22, 1981. The colder months are November through March, when the average low temperature is 32 °F (0 °C) and and the daily mean temperature is between 39–51 °F (4–11 °C), with December and January being the coldest. The lowest temperature ever recorded was is −25 °F (−32 °C), on January 11, 1962.

The annual precipitation averages 9 inches (230 mm), with August being the wettest month with 1.77 inches (45 mm). Rainy days are most common from July to October, with four to seven per month on average. The remaining months have two to three days of rain on average. From November to March, snow is possible, with an average accumulation of 1 inch (25 mm).

White Sands National Park – Wikipedia :- Geology

White Sands National Park – Wikipedia :- Ecology

Barn Swallows – White Sands National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)
A herd of Columbian mammoths, a ground sloth (left background), dire wolves (left foreground), lions (center/left background), camels (right background), and saber-toothed cats (right foreground, in reeds) gather at a water source.

Created 1st January 2016 By uncredited National Park Service (NPS) artist – current version from NPS Foundation Document (archive), page 19 (no name is credited in the “Photo and Art Credits”, page 42)original version stitched together from images credited to “NPS Photo” on NPS Paleontology page (archive) and NPS Fossilized Footprints page (archive), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=86356683

Paleontology:- The land within the Tularosa Basin had huge lakes, streams, and grasslands before the Pleistocene epoch ended around 12,000 years ago. The atmosphere was wetter and colder, resulting in significantly more rain and snow than  before. Lake Otero was one of the largest lakes in the south-west, with a surface area of 1,600 square miles (4,144 km2), larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Large ice age mammals lived upon the shores of Lake Otero and in the surrounding grasslands, and the basin was teeming with life. Columbian mammoths, ground sloths, ancient camels, dire wolves, lions, and saber-toothed cats—also known as saber-toothed tigers, though they are not closely related to tigers all passed through the Tularosa Basin, where the dunes now stand. When the creatures walked along the muddy shores of Lake Otero, their body weight compressed the wet clay and gypsum, leaving fossil footprints. The wind reveals the fragile tracks, which quickly erode away, with several tracks disappearing after just two years.

Trackways of ancient camels and Columbian mammoths can be found scattered around the now-dry lakebed. The fossilised footprints tend to form a ring around ancient water pools. Only a few fossil footprints had been discovered in the park for the previous 80 years; however, a group of scientists observed dark spots dotting the expanse of the lakebed that seemed to be footprints. Footprints of a dire wolf were found alongside ancient seeds dating back over 18,000 years in the 2010s. Ground sloth tracks have also been discovered in the park. Human footprints from the Paleolithic period have been discovered One set of footprints shows the stalking of sloths. The paleo-humans who inhabited the Tularosa Basin left no other traces of their life. Though tool-making stone flakes, arrowheads, and spear points have been discovered in the region, they are the artefacts of humans who lived after the Ice Age. There are few artefacts from before the Spanish exploration in the 1500s on the lakebed. […]White Sands National Park – Wikipedia – Paleontology

See also: – NRHP portal National Register for historical Places

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