National Geographic : 1960 Jun
Masked to the eyes, a Tuareg cavalryman sel dom reveals his face, even to a blood brother. Though nominally Moslem, the tribe's women go unveiled. Hard-riding Tuareg raiders terrorized the desert in the days before French rule. Plumes of Fire Roar at Hassi Messaoud; Its Oil Flows 415 Miles to the Sea New Saharan fields, drilled at tremendous cost, increase Algeria's value to France. At Hassi Messaoud, some 60 wells dive two miles under the sand to tap a pool half as big as Rhode Island. Plans call for a city of 40,000 here. Nomad tents dot the wastes a dozen miles from Hassi Messaoud. Here wandering Arabs and Berbers subsist largely on herds of hardy goats and sheep. Most of the Sahara consists of sand-and gravel plains such as this one, broken by islands of rugged peaks. The fearsome ergs, or regions of shifting sand dunes, make up 782 little more than a seventh of the desert.