The Cambrian-Ordovician transition was the time of several key events in the history of Central Asia. They were the accretion of Mariana-type island arc systems to the Siberian continent, the related large-scale orogeny and intrusions of basaltic and granitic magma and the formation of a huge turbidite basin commensurate with the Bengal Gulf basin in the western part of the Central Asian orogenic belt (CAOB). The structure of the basin, as well as the sources and environments of deposition remain open to discussion.This paper presents new major- and trace-element data on Late-Cambrian-Early Ordovician turbidites from different parts of the Russian Altai and a synthesis of Nd isotope composition and ages of detrital zircons. The turbidites share chemical similarity with material shed from weathered continental arcs. Broad variations of CIA (39-73) and ICV (0.63-1.66) signatures in sandstones suggest origin from diverse sources and absence of significant sorting. Trace elements vary considerably and have generally similar patterns in rocks from different terranes. On the other hand, there are at least two provinces according to Nd isotope composition and age of detrital zircons. Samples from eastern Russian Altai contain only Phanerozoic zircons and have Nd isotope ratios similar to those in Early Cambrian island arcs (εNdt+4.4...+5.4; TNd(DM)-2-st=0.8-0.9Ga). Samples from central, western, and southern parts of Russian Altai contain Precambrian zircons (some as old as Late Archean) and have a less radiogenic Nd composition (εNdt up to -3.6; TNd(DM)-2-st up to 1.5Ga).The chemical signatures of Late Cambrian to Early Ordovician turbidites indicate a provenance chemically more mature than the island arc rocks, and the presence of zircons with 510-490. Ma ages disproves their genetic relation with island arcs. The turbidite basin formed simultaneously with peaks of granitic and alkali-basaltic magmatism in the western Central Asian orogen and resulted from interplay of plate tectonic and plume tectonic processes.