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This Footage From White Sands National Monument In New Mexico Will Make You Think You’re On Another Planet

If you only saw photos of this place, you might think these windblown dunes are located somewhere deep within the Sahara Desert in Africa… or at least near a beach. Nope! These unique peaks and valleys are found in the White Sands National Monument, right here in southern New Mexico.

These dunes aren’t just special because they sit at a whopping 4,235-foot elevation and are hundreds of miles from the nearest, it’s all about the white sands, which are composed of tiny gypsum crystals. This mineral is extremely rare in sand form because it is actually water soluble, meaning a heavy rainstorm would dissolve these dunes down to nothing. Rain does fall here, however, the basin that contains the White Sands dunes is entirely enclosed, so the runoff simply has nowhere to go. Any water that falls here does dissolve the crystals, but it can only run into pools, then evaporate again under sunny skies, leaving the gypsum crystals behind to be blown back into the dunes.

On an especially bright day at White Sands National Monument, the reflection of the sun off of the miniscule gypsum crystals looks almost like the dunes are made from snow. It’s THAT white. That said, sand sledding is a popular activity at White Sands. The sand is extremely fine-grained and can offer hours of fun normally reserved only for the snowy winter months.

Standing at the top of a crest and looking out over the rolling hills and valleys gives this place a very otherworldly feel. It’s so unique and vast and starkly white that it almost looks like it belongs on another planet.

This video was shot and shared on YouTube by Amazing Places on Our Planet. This is one channel you definitely need to check out – it features hundreds of stunning, high quality videos from the most incredible spots from around the globe!

Meg Archer
Meg is the Contributions & Creative Content Editor for OnlyInYourState. She works in source research, concept development, and business outreach. Meg enjoys playing with her food (cooking), writing furiously (at inconvenient moments), and exploring (everything and everywhere).