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Among its most interesting features are its dry lake beds-this is, after all, one of the driest places on the planet-which are dazzlingly white due to deposited salt, and prone to producing fascinating natural saline outcrops.

Other notable features of the Atacama Desert are the region's many caverns, some containing evidence of pictographs created by early man and where some of the world's oldest mummies, preserved by the area's aridity, were found. The most famous of these, the Chinchorro mummies, are now on display at the archaeological museum in San Miguel de Azapa.