U-Pb analyses of 656 single zircon grains from Cambrian to Triassic miogeoclinal strata provide a latitudinal and temporal reference for the ages of grains that accumulated along the western margin of North America. Comparisons between this detrital zircon reference and the ages of grains in potentially displaced terranes outboard (west) of the miogeocline should help establish when the terranes first arrived in sedimentary proximity to western North America. North-south variations in the ages of grains in Cambrian and Devonian to Triassic strata, which reflect the north-south changes in the age of cratonal rocks near the margin, should also help place constraints on a terrane's paleolatitude during these time periods. The technique cannot be used to determine paleolatitude during Ordovician time, however, because miogeoclinal strata from northern Canada to northern Mexico are dominated by grains shed from the Peace River arch (northwestern Canada).

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