Detrital zircon ages from the lower part of the Late Proterozoic(?) to Middle Cambrian Goldenville Group in the Meguma terrane of Nova Scotia suggest derivation from local sources in the Avalonian and Pan-African orogens on the margins of Early Cambrian Gondwana. Samples from near the top of the group show a broader distribution, including ages back to Archean. The εNd data show a corresponding trend, from slightly positive in the lower Goldenville Group to highly negative in the upper Goldenville Group and overlying Upper Cambrian to Lower Ordovician Halifax Group. The trends are consistent with deposition of the lower part of the Meguma succession in a rift, in which uplifted rift-flanks were the main source of the early basin fill, whereas subsequent thermal subsidence of rift margins allowed for more widespread sediment sourcing in younger units. The rift was possibly located between Gondwana and Avalonia, and may have been the locus for separation of Avalonia from Gondwana to form part of the Rheic Ocean.