The Great Unconformity is an iconic geologic feature that coincides with an enigmatic period of Earth’s history that spans the assembly and breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia and the Snowball Earth glaciations. We use zircon (U-Th)/He thermochronology (ZHe) to explore the erosion history below the Great Unconformity at its classic Grand Canyon locality in Arizona, United States. ZHe dates are as old as 809 ± 25 Ma with data patterns that differ across both long (~100 km) and short (tens of kilometers) spatial wavelengths. The spatially variable thermal histories implied by these data are best explained by Proterozoic syndepositional normal faulting that induced differences in exhumation and burial across the region. The data, geologic relationships, and thermal history models suggest Neoproterozoic rock exhumation and the presence of a basement paleo high at the present-day Lower Granite Gorge synchronous with Grand Canyon Supergroup deposition at the present-day Upper Granite Gorge. The paleo high created a topographic barrier that may have limited deposition to restricted marine or nonmarine conditions. This paleotopographic evolution reflects protracted, multiphase tectonic activity during Rodinia assembly and breakup that induced multiple events that formed unconformities over hundreds of millions of years, all with claim to the title of a “Great Unconformity.”

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