The increasing number and size of detrital geochronology data sets offer new opportunities for increased accuracy and resolution of sediment routing models. However, the new opportunities come coupled with challenges in large data integration and visualization. We address these challenges by outlining two novel approaches that aid in analyzing and interpreting large detrital geochronology data sets: (1) combination of bottom-up and top-down detrital zircon source modeling, and (2) sediment provenance mapping. Combining source-modeling methods provides guidance in identifying empirical detrital zircon sources and determining source proportions. Provenance mapping integrates source proportions from modeling results and complimentary geologic data (e.g., paleocurrents, paleogeography, and stratal thickness maps) to extrapolate provenance information through areas with sparse or ambiguous data, thus mitigating issues of data distribution heterogeneity. Sediment provenance maps also provide a synoptic view of data that, along with detrital zircon source modeling, aids in circumventing lengthy descriptions of individual age modes for data sets containing hundreds of samples, which can obscure underlying trends in the data.
We apply this approach to late Paleozoic−early Mesozoic strata, using 329 published and new U-Pb detrital zircon samples, and document five sediment-routing episodes in the core zone of intraplate deformation in western Laurentia (i.e., the Ancestral Rocky Mountains (ARM)). The transitions between these episodes are defined by changes in sediment source distribution, which are illustrated by provenance maps that show (1) the degree and extent of ARM basin isolation from transcontinental sediment sources and (2) ARM-driven changes in transcontinental sediment routing systems. We map possible sediment pathways of distally derived sediment around the ARM core, illustrating that ARM uplifts diverted transcontinental systems around areas of intense intraplate deformation. Further, the evolution of sediment routing in western Laurentia before, during, and after ARM deformation provides an example of the interaction between transcontinental sediment routing and intraplate deformation.