From plate tectonics that act over thousands of kilometers and millions of years to sedimentary processes that operate over sub meter and sub annual timescales, provenance data integrates many types of information. The research in this dissertation attempts to advance the understanding of tectonic and sedimentological controls on provenance analysis by examining one modern and one ancient example. The modern example, coastal central Californa provides the advantage of being a well-studied modern setting for which boundary conditions of source region geology and sediment dispersal patterns are constrained. This setting demonstrates that sediment mixing in the marine realm is an important control on provenance signatures and that submarine canyons and coastal geometries dictate the way sediment dispersal systems are partitioned along narrow-shelf margins. In the ancient example, the Magallanes-Austral retroarc foreland basin in southern Patagonia, initial work provided a new stratigraphic framework for the basin. Once this framework was established, a provenance study was conducted with a large data set of new and previously published detrital zircon, petrographic and Rare Earth Element data. From this data set we interpret the tectonic and sedimentological controls on sediment dispersal in this ancient foreland basin. These modern and ancient examples provide context to understanding provenance signatures and the controls of tectonic and sedimentological processes on their expression and record.