A synthesis of U-Pb detrital zircon data from the Triassic of western Laurentia is placed in the context of paleogeographic models for Pangea. We find that an emerging body of evidence supports the hypothesis that a Triassic subduction zone and continental magmatic arc system fringed western Laurentia starting in the southwestern United States, continuing northward along the Cordillera, including arc rocks of the Quesnel and Yukon-Tanana terranes, and extending further into the Arctic region. In the context of this geodynamic setting, the western interior basins of North America would have formed, probably by subduction dynamics, as a collage of backarc and retroarc foreland basins. The convergent tectonic model for western Laurentia is consistent with paleogeographic reconstructions that show a subduction zone encircling Pangea, called the Pangean rim of fire.
- Received 3 January 2017.
- Revision received 22 February 2017.
- Accepted 15 March 2017.
- © The Authors
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