National Geographic : 1976 Aug
Lifesaving catchments supply water to cattle during the parched dry season in Vene zuela's llanos, a region of alter nating flood and drought. Like a vast green carpet from 50 to 250 miles wide, the llanos un roll from the base of the Andes to the Orinoco River Delta-a distance of 800 miles. Diamonds take a backseat to oil in Venezuela's income, but their glitter draws speculators to the Guiana Highlands. Output of about a million carats a year places the nation eighth in world production. Miner (right) sells his precious gleanings from the gravel of the wildRio Guaniamo. The hard-won money usually flies fast in gambling and merry making at primitive diamond camps (below), where riches-to rags tales abound.