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Abstract Formation of the Canada basin by post-Triassic rifting seems the most workable and logical hypothesis on the basis of available information. Speculated counterclockwise rotation of the Alaska-Chukchi continental edge best rationalizes the complex geology of northern Alaska, whereas the assumption that a single continental block was present before the Jurassic makes the best palinspastic fit for Arctic America.

The Arctic Ocean is the focus of present-day spreading and probably was the focus of earlier stages of spreading in which spread of the Canada basin would have been an initial stage. Spread of the Canada basin is probable if the Atlantic formed by sea-floor spreading, because analogies between the Arctic and Atlantic edges indicate a common origin for the ocean basins.

Late Cretaceous and younger deflections of the cordillera in the Arctic and diabasic emplacements in the northern Arctic Islands may reflect later stages of spreading. Pre-Mesozoic plate tectonism may be represented by the widespread Proterozoic diabasic emplacements in the Canadian Arctic and by the Franklinian-lnnuitian tract, where the volcanogenic rocks and deformation resulted not from a classical eugeosyncline-miogeosyncline couple, but from the junction of a mid-Paleozoic continental edge and another plate on closure of a pre-Arctic Ocean.

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