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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Mosca in Alamosa County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sabkha

 
 
Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sabkha Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2020
1. Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sabkha Marker
Inscription.  

As you travel through these sandy grasslands, notice the bright white surface deposits visible along the highway to the west. The sabkha forms where sand is seasonally saturated by rising ground water. When the water evaporates away in late summer, minerals similar to baking soda cement sand grains together into a hard, white crust. Areas of sabkha can be found throughout western portions of the sand sheet, wherever the water table meets the surface.

Sabkha wetlands support shore birds such as the American avocet ([main background photo] pictured above), dragonflies, chorus frogs, toads, and tiger salamanders. Sandhill cranes (right) use these wetlands during their spring and fall migrations through the San Luis Valley.

Sabkha deposits can accumulate into thick crusts. Early settlers collected sabkha minerals to use in baking or laundry detergent. In the 19th century, a tiny town appeared nearby called Soda City. Residents collected and pressed the minerals into blocks that were shipped by train to be sold as washing soda. Few traces are left of the town today.
 
Erected by National Park

Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sabkha Marker image. Click for full size.
By William Fischer, Jr., October 15, 2020
2. Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sabkha Marker
Marker at left, looking NNW toward Lane 6N
Service.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentIndustry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 37° 39.738′ N, 105° 36.092′ W. Marker is near Mosca, Colorado, in Alamosa County. Marker is on Lane 6N 1.2 miles west of State Highway 150, on the left when traveling west. Marker is at a scenic overlook, a short walk from a roadside pulloff. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mosca CO 81146, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. L.B. "Bill" Casselman (here, next to this marker); Sounds of Silence (here, next to this marker); Evidence of a Changing World (here, next to this marker); Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sand Sheet (here, next to this marker); Pike and Southwest Commerce (approx. 1.8 miles away); "Totally Unique and Unexpected" (approx. 3.8 miles away); A Landmark for People (approx. 4.7 miles away); Zebulon Pike's "sand-hills" (approx. 6.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mosca.
 
Also see . . .
1. Great Sand Dunes System. (Submitted on November 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Great Sand Dunes Hydrology. (Submitted on November 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Geologic Resource Evaluation Report, Great Sand Dunes NP (2006)
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. (Submitted on November 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 22, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 43 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 22, 2020, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.
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Mar. 5, 2021