National Geographic : 1973 Oct
Peering out of the past, eyes of pale turquoise dot the handle of a pre-Columbian snuff tray carved by an Atacama Indian. Father Gustave Le Paige, a Jesuit missionary at the desert oasis of San Pedro de Atacama and an ardent amateur arche ologist, discovered the tray and a wealth of other treasures. His museum at San Pedro pre serves mastodon bones, Indian mummies, and thousands of human skulls. Portent of the future, the Ta tio geyser field may one day provide additional energy for the power-starved province of Antofagasta. Chile sits athwart one of the world's major fault systems. Now, assisted by Unit ed Nations technicians, govern ment engineers are drilling wells to gauge underground geothermal energy. The first well unleashed a gush of steam whose power equaled that of a locomotive.