The first 4 months of Mariner 9 photography of the south polar region are discussed. Three major geological units have been recognized, separated by erosional unconformities. From oldest to youngest they are: cratered terrain, pitted plains, and laminated terrain. The latter unit is unique in occurrence to the polar region, volatiles are probably involved in its origin, and may still be present within the laminated terrain as layered ice. The residual south polar cap has been observed to survive the disappearance of the thin annual CO2 frost deposit and to last virtually unchanged in outline through the southern summer. That exposed deposit is inferred to be composed of water-ice. The residual cap appears to lie at the apex of an unusual quasi-circular structure composed of laminated terrain; a similar structure also appears to exist near the north pole. ?? 1972.
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Geological framework of the south polar region of Mars