Escanaba Trough, which forms the southernmost part of the axial valley of the actively spreading Gorda Ridge, is filled with several hundred meters of sediment of presumed late Quaternary age. Surficial sediment samples from gravity cores, deeper samples (as much as 390 m) from Site 35 of the Deep Sea Drilling Program (Leg 5), and the acoustic character of the sediment fill observed on seismic-reflection profiles indicate that much of the sediment fill is of turbidite origin. Gross composition and heavy- mineral analyses of sand samples show that two distinct petrofacies comprise the sediment fill. The lower part of the fill was derived primarily from the Klamath River source of northern California while the younger fill, including the surficial sand beds, are from the Columbia River drainage much farther north. The Escanaba Trough sediment provides an opportunity to evaluate concepts for paleogeographic and paleotectonic reconstructions that are based on facies analysis and compositional and textural data for the volcanic components because both intrabasinal and extrabasinal sources are present as well as coeval (neovolcanic) and non coeval (paleovolcanic) sourcre This study of a modern basin shows, that although the sediment sources could be identified, it was useful to have some knowledge of the sediment pathway(s), the effects of diagenesis, and the possible effects of sediment sorting as a result of long transport distances from the source area for some components. Application of these same techniques to ancient deposits without benefit of the additional parameters will face limitations.