Mosca in Alamosa County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
"Totally Unique and Unexpected"
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
"Totally Unique and Unexpected!"
Welcome to the high elevation desert that is Great Sand Dunes! Does this landscape strike you as amazing, bizarre or totally out of place. If so, you’re not alone. For many, the unexpected combination of massive dunes surrounded by alpine peaks and a desert valley inspires awe and curiosity.
The 30 square mile dunefield before you is the most impressive part of an enormous deposit of sand stretching west, south, and north. The San Juan Mountains on the far western horizon contributed most of the sand, which was washed by mountain streams into the San Luis Valley. From there, southwesterly winds blew, bounced and pushed the grains toward the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, piling them into the tallest dunes in North America.
The Great Sand Dunes System consists of:
Sabkha: A region where sand is cemented by evaporate salts from seasonal wetlands.
Sand Sheet: A large area of grasslands and small migrating dunes; about 53% of the sand deposit.
Main Dunefield: Thirty square miles of massive
Mountain Watershed: The source of water for the creeks that flow around the dunes.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Natural Features.
Location. 37° 41.753′ N, 105° 32.758′ W. Marker is in Mosca, Colorado, in Alamosa County. Marker can be reached from Highway 150 near Pinyon Circle. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 11999 Highway 150, Mosca CO 81146, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Landmark for People (approx. 0.9 miles away); Zebulon Pike's "sand-hills" (approx. 3 miles away); Sangre de Cristo Ecosystem (approx. 3.2 miles away); The Mountain Barrier (approx. 3.2 miles away); Dimensions (approx. 3.4 miles away); Stepping into Wilderness (approx. 3.4 miles away); Understanding the Great Sand Dunes System: the Sand Sheet (approx. 3.8 miles away); Sounds of Silence (approx. 3.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mosca.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 1, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 579 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on January 1, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 2, 3, 4. submitted on February 13, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. 5, 6, 7, 8. submitted on January 1, 2014, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.