The Mawrth Vallis region contains an extensive (at least 300 km × 400 km) and thick (⩾300 m), finely layered (at meter scale), clay-rich unit detected by OMEGA. We use OMEGA, HRSC DTMs derived from stereoscopic imagery, HRSC color imagery and high resolution imagery such as MOC, CTX and HiRISE to characterize the geometry and the composition of the clay-rich unit at the regional scale. Our results show that the clay-bearing unit can be divided into sub-units on the basis of differences in color and composition. In false-color visible imagery, alternating white/bluish and orange/red colored units correspond to a compositional succession of, respectively, Al- and Fe- or Mg-phyllosilicate rich material. Geological cross-sections are presented along the principal outcrops of the region in order to define the stratigraphy of these sub-units. This method shows that the dips of the sub-units are frequently close to the slopes of the present topography, except for scarps visible at the dichotomy boundary, inside impact craters walls, and outcrops inside Mawrth Vallis. In addition to the Al- and Fe- or Mg-phyllosilicate rich sub-units, an altered surface is identified as the lower basement unit. We propose two possible end-member scenarios to explain the derived stratigraphy: (1) alteration of volcaniclastic, aeolian or aqueous layered deposits of various compositions by groundwater, resulting in distinct altered rocks; or (2) Alteration coeval with the deposition of sediments under varying chemical conditions, in wet pedodiagenetic environment.