Holloman AFB, NM (DoD)

Location - The Holloman Air Force Base (HAFB) Network site is located within the Tularosa Basin in south-central New Mexico. The HAFB site lies in the northern Chihuahuan Desert, 67 km northeast of the Jornada Experimental Range site. The Tularosa Basin is bound to the west by the San Andres Mountains and to the east by the Sacramento Mountains. White Sands National Monument, including the White Sands dunefield, lies directly to the west of the site, which sits between the dunefield and La Luz on a plain dissected by well-developed arroyos. The HAFB is at an elevation of 1267 m above sea level, with adjacent peaks reaching 3652 m in the Lincoln National Forest.

Climate - The Tularosa Basin has an arid to semi-arid climate. The mean annual precipitation (1915-2014) for the study area is 278 mm, with mean annual evaporation 2640 mm. June through September are the wettest months, receiving 50% of the annual precipitation. The mean annual maximum and minimum temperatures range from 25°C to 8.5°C.

Vegetation and soil - Vegetation at the HAFB Network site consists of a mixed native grassland dominated by alkali sacaton (Sporobolus airoides (Torr.) Torr.) and gyp dropseed (Sporobolus nealleyi Vasey), both warm season (C4) grasses.  Low growing four-wing saltbush shrubs (Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.) are the most common woody species at the site, followed by widely-scattered honey mesquite shrubs (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.).  The subshrub hairy crinklemat (Tiquilia hispidissima (Torr. & A. Gray) A.T. Richardson) and perennial forbs such as mesa pepperweed (Lepidium alyssoides A. Gray) and wooly paperflower (Psilostrophe tagetina (Nutt.) Greene) occur in areas where grass and shrub cover is reduced.  The soil surface is strongly biologically crusted with cyanobacteria, which in some areas is visible as a darkened crust.  Various lichen species also grow attached as crusts on the soil surface, and a free-living cyanobacterium species, Nostoc commune Vaucher ex Bornet & Flahault, is found in some inter-plant spaces where water ponds after rains.  Surface soils are very pale brown gypsiferous fine to very fine sandy loams with high gypsum content (generally >75%).  Subsurface soils are slightly coarser gypsiferous sandy loams with equally high gypsum content.  Slope of the site is 0%, and soil surface roughness is low, except for a few mounds resulting from animal burrowing.

Management - Rangeland, protected military airfield, occasional light grazing by cattle and gemsbok (Oryx gazella).

Site Contact - Nicholas Webb

Photos of the Holloman AFB, NM (DoD) Network site showing MWAC sediment samplers and meteorological tower.