The evolution of active margins through time is the record of plate tectonics as inscribed on the continents. This themed issue honors the eclectic contributions of Arthur W. Snoke (Fig. 1) to the study of active margins with a series of papers that amply demonstrate the broad scope of active margin tectonics and the diverse methods that tectonic geologists employ to decipher their histories. Taken together, this set of papers illustrates the diversity of boundary conditions that guide the development of active margins and the key parameters that regulate their evolution in time and space.

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