Neo-Proterozoic (<780 Ma) rocks in western North America compose a regionally persistent stratigraphic succession that contains basal sedimentary and volcanic rocks that accumulated during active faulting. In the Canadian Cordillera, the synrift component is overlain by a thick succession that includes shelf, shelf-edge, and basinal strata and implies substantial postrift subsidence. Although fragmentary in nature due to the effects of sub-Cambrian erosion, when reconstructed the Canadian stratigraphic record is similar in thickness, facies, and lateral persistence to the overlying Cambrian-Ordovician passive margin. The neo-Proterozoic record of western North America is thus interpreted as a passive-margin succession, rather than a simple rift, which predates a younger rift that resulted in widespread early Paleozoic passive-margin sedimentation. If correct, this may imply that break-up of western Laurentia was a neo-Proterozoic phenomenon rather than early Paleozoic.

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