Geological processes controlled by plate tectonics govern the time-space distribution of key rock assemblages. Stratal components of geosynclinal prisms, igneous provinces of orogenic belts, and regional facies of metamorphic terranes all display patterns controlled by inferred plate motions. Similarities between most Precambrian rock assemblages and Phanerozoic counterparts, coupled with analogies between Precambrian and Phanerozoic apparent polar wander paths, suggest that most surviving crustal rocks of all ages owe their origins to plate-tectonic processes. Archaean crustal blocks resemble collages of oceanic island arcs and volcanic archipelagoes whose tectonic juxtaposition to form cratonic nuclei was probably accomplished by subduction and crustal collision. Thereafter, similar Proterozoic oceanic elements were gradually accreted to growing continental margins and eventually crushed between colliding continental blocks of progressively larger size. Meanwhile, Archaean terranes within the interiors of cratons were generally shielded from further deformation, with their oceanic aspects largely preserved. In time, Phanerozoic oceanic terranes will systematically be destroyed by subduction or modified by incorporation into consolidated continental blocks. Differences between Precambrian and Phanerozoic plate tectonics and related assemblages reflect secular decline in global heat flux of radiogenic origin and progressive growth in the dimensions of cratonic blocks of continental crust.