Sandy terrigenous detritus shed from continental blocks passes as turbidite sediment into several generic types of ocean basins by crossing various kinds of continental margins. Dispersal paths crossing rifted continental margins include drainage basins having sediment sources that lie along uplifted rift belts and arc or collision orogens as well as across the surfaces of stable cratons. Orogenic continental margins include coastal transform orogens as well as continental-margin arc-trench systems and offshore island arcs fringing marginal seas. Compositions of modern sands deposited in ocean basins adjacent to the different margin types display systematic variations that can be correlated with tectonic setting. Comparisons of key sand types can be used by analogy to help interpret the origins of deformed turbidite successions now exposed along collision suture belts formed by plate closure of ancient ocean basins.