Reports

Apollo 16 Exploration of Descartes: A Geologic Summary

Science  05 Jan 1973:
Vol. 179, Issue 4068, pp. 62-69
DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4068.62

Abstract

The Cayley Plains at the Apollo 16 landing site consist of crudely stratified breccias to a depth of at least 200 meters, overlain by a regolith 10 to 15 meters thick. Samples, photographs, and observations by the astronauts indicate that most of the rocks are impact breccias derived from an anorthositegabbro complex. The least brecciated members of the suite include coarse-grained anorthosite and finer-grained, more mafic rocks, some with igneous and some with metamorphic textures. Much of the traverse area is covered by ejecta from North Ray and South Ray craters, but the abundance of rock fragments increases to the south toward the younger South Ray crater. The Descartes highlands, a distinct morphologic entity, differ from the adjacent Cayley formation more in physiographic expression than in lithologic character.

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