Subsidence analysis and geometry of Jurassic-Cretaceous foreland strata in northwestern Montana and southern Alberta and British Columbia suggest that loading by the fold-thrust belt in Canada began as much as 40 m.y. earlier than in Montana. In Canada, early foreland basin deposits are Late Jurassic age, thicken rapidly westward, and are restricted to a narrow belt within 30 km of the thrust belt. In western Montana, contemporaneous deposits are widespread and do not increase markedly in thickness toward the thrust belt. The unconformity overlying these deposits also changes from Canada, where it is angular, to a disconformity in western Montana near Great Falls.
Between these two areas, foreland geometry is transitional over a distance of <250 km. Beyond the transition zone, early foreland basin geometries are broadly consistent, showing Late Jurassic foreland subsidence in southern Canada and Early Cretaceous initial subsidence in the United States.