Much of North America, particularly most of its major population centers, is underlain by sedimentary basins. Within them, ground water and fossil fuel resources are concentrated. It is therefore not surprising that there is a great deal of interest in the history and evolution of the Phanerozoic basins of North America.
In the following I can only highlight but a few significant facets that concern the sedimentary basins of our continent. The main focus will be on the cratonic basin development of North America because many of the other basins are already treated separately in the different chapters of this volume. My aim will be to compare and contrast the many sedimentary basins and to focus somewhat on coeval subsidence patterns in North America.