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Samalayuca Desert, Mun. de Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, Mexico
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Samalayuca Desert, Mun. de Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, Mexico

Photo: 2002 John H. Betts
Latitude: 31°25'23"N
Longitude: 106°26'37"W
Name(s) in local language(s): Desierto de Samalayuca, Mun. de Villa Ahumada, Chihuahua, México
Samalyuca is a small town on the Juarez-Chihuahua highway roughly 50 km south of El Paso-Juarez. The town's main claim to fame is a huge thermoelectric generator plant, visible for a long distance. South and east of the town lie the Samalayuca Dune Fields (Medanos)that feature star and barchan dunes up to 50m high. The sand comes from Laguna Guzman (aka Barreal Guzman) that lies just to the west. A popular site for filming used for "Dune" and "Conan the Destroyer".

Just north of the town, and less than 100m off the highway are old playa lake deposits from which distinctive spherical aggregates of bladed tan-colored gypsum crystals ("desert roses"), often heavily included with sand. Specimens range from single balls up to 6 cm in diameter to clusters of intergrown balls weighing many tens of kilograms. Specimens have been mined in large quantities for many years and are a staple of rock shop inventory. The roses are often toasted with a blow torch to dehydrate the edges of the bladed crystals. This both hides damage to the edges and gives them a white edge that contrasts with the overall tan color of the gypsum.

Mineral List

'Desert Rose'

2 entries listed. 1 valid mineral.

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Pike,, Zebulon, Edited by Elliott Coues (1895, edited and reprinted from the 1810 printing). The Expeditions of Zebulon Montgomery Pike: Arkansaw Journey. Mexican Tour. New York, NY, pps, 648 to 652: Francis P. Harper.

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Copyright © Jolyon Ralph and Ida Chau 1993-2014. Site Map. Locality, mineral & photograph data are the copyright of the individuals who submitted them. Site hosted & developed by Jolyon Ralph. Mindat.org is an online information resource dedicated to providing free mineralogical information to all. Mindat relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters. Mindat does not offer minerals for sale. If you would like to add information to improve the quality of our database, then click here to register.
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