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The Gypsum Sandstorms of White Sands Are Gorgeous in New Timelapse

 Image: SKYGLOW Project
Image: SKYGLOW Project

There’s nothing that makes you feel smaller than an expanse of nothing but sand and sky.


The White Sands National Monument in New Mexico is the largest gypsum dune field in the world. While this much normal sand isn’t a rarity, gypsum’s solubility in water means that it doesn’t typically stick around for long.

White Sands is an exception to the rule, with a climate so dry that the gypsum has spread over 275 square miles to create beautiful white dunes.


You can get a closer look at the anomaly in a new timelapse video posted on BBC Earth, which also captures a sandstorm caused by strong winds sweeping through.

The video was filmed by timelapse artists Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic as part of the crowdfunded Project SKYGLOW, which seeks to explore the effects of urban light pollution on some of North America’s most breathtaking natural areas and starscapes.

We’ve featured the team’s works before as they travel the country looking for clear skies free from light pollution.


[Vimeo, BBC]

Weekend editor and night person at Gizmodo. More space core than human.

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Make that not quite so time lapsey, stream it in 4k, and I’d pay for it.

I’d put up a 4k TV in my office, and just stream it in perpetuity.

Probably even more so if they had several channels of different beautiful areas in the world.

Stream it at 2-3x (or, for that matter, have it selectable).... Yeah, I’d pay for that.