STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

White Sands National Monument designated as the newest US national park

The United States has its 62nd national park.The White Sands National Monume...

Posted: Dec 23, 2019 12:34 PM
Updated: Dec 23, 2019 4:15 PM

The United States has its 62nd national park.

The White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico has been officially designated as White Sands National Park.

Legislation to redesignate White Sands was included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020. The US House of Representatives passed the act on December 11 with the Senate following on December 16. President Donald Trump signed the bill on December 20.

Located in the Tularosa Basin, White Sands is one of the world's great natural wonders. The 275 square miles of desert makes White Sands the world's largest gypsum dune field, according to the National Park Service.

Gypsum is a common mineral in rocks around the world and is extremely soft. It can break down easily, and the grains reflect light rather than allowing it to pass through, which gives off its snowy appearance, according to the park service.

What allows gypsum sand to form is water. The park service says that White Sands is a 'wet environment' at 100% humidity.

The dunes at White Sands likely began to form 7,000 to 10,000 years ago as Lake Otero began to dry up, according to the park service.

While there is consistent wind, with some dunes traveling as far as 12 to 13 feet per year, there is a shallow water table beneath the dunes that the park service says, 'acts like a glue,' holding the dunes in place.

According to the park service, multiple commercial interests attempted to mine the gypsum dunes in the early 20th century but none were successful due to the low market value of unprocessed gypsum sand.

But those attempts pushed local residents to lobby for protection of the dune fields. White Sands was named a national monument in 1933 during the final days of President Herbert Hoover's administration.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 9294

Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah230169
Marion156447
Washington144620
Clackamas77324
Umatilla6204
Union3471
Lincoln3272
Deschutes1920
Lane1803
Linn1549
Polk14912
Malheur1401
Jackson1310
Yamhill1318
Jefferson1260
Klamath1231
Hood River880
Benton835
Wasco751
Morrow721
Clatsop490
Douglas440
Coos410
Josephine411
Columbia310
Lake190
Tillamook120
Crook110
Wallowa100
Curry70
Baker40
Grant10
Harney10
Sherman10
Gilliam00
Unassigned00
Wheeler00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 246550

Reported Deaths: 6265
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles1077923457
Riverside18720465
San Diego15207377
Orange15065354
San Bernardino13152265
Imperial6824100
Alameda6384138
Fresno562677
Kern493977
Santa Clara4750159
Tulare4521133
San Joaquin429855
San Francisco371950
Sacramento355969
San Mateo3376108
Contra Costa332678
Santa Barbara326129
Ventura324047
Kings258332
Marin244619
Stanislaus239144
Monterey174815
Solano147625
Sonoma12299
Merced120811
Placer75411
San Luis Obispo6752
Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4103
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1384
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
Calaveras530
Del Norte511
Tuolumne430
Mono411
Inyo321
Siskiyou310
Mariposa271
Amador260
Plumas110
Alpine20
Trinity20
Sierra10
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 79°
Brookings
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 60°
Crater Lake
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 73°
Grants Pass
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 78°
Klamath Falls
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 73°
Beautiful 4th of July Weekend Ahead
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events