Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten, Portrait

Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten

My White Sands

The Tularosa Basin home of White Sands

Graceful "S" Curve Barchan Dune

Fast-moving  Barchan dunes are one of the four dune types at White Sands. These Barchan dunes advance many feet a year, and overrun everything in their paths.

Nothing at White Sands grows fast enough to out race Barchan dunes.

Sunrise on the San Andreas Mountains

Daytime temperatures in July and August average 95 degrees. 

Unlike quartz-based sand crystals such as we find at the sea shore, gypsum does not change the sun's rays into heat. Thus the White Sands dunes can be walked on with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months.

Because the white sand does not soak up heat from the sun, it provides no warmth after the sun goes down, and the night quickly chills.

Warming Up

The wind had been biting cold when we started out just before dawn, and we frequently took shelter in the lee of dunes and pedestals.

It was an hour or two after the sun came up before we began to warm up. 

No matter how hot it gets during the day, the desert dunes are cold at night.