sand - gypsum sand from Lake Lucero - 250 ml glass display bottle with ground glass stopper
This is the sand that forms the dunes at White Sands National Monument. It forms as gypsum crystals on the surface of Lake Lucero as it evaporates in the summer. Blown by the wind, the crystals break down and are transported into the White Sands dune field to the east. One dune, shown in the field photo, has escaped the National Monument and is encroaching on US Highway 70. That's where this sand was collected.
The gypsum was deposited on the sea floor during the Permian. These beds were uplifted and are exposed in the San Andres Mountains to the west. During the last Ice Age, a gypsum-saturated lake, Lake Otero, filled 1,600 square miles of the Tularosa Basin in New Mexico. With warming climate at the end of the Ice Age, Lake Otero evaporated. Lake Lucero occupies a part of the former Lake Otero basin.
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