Aeromagnetic and satellite magnetic data provide glimpses of the crustal architecture within the Ross Sea sector of the enigmatic, ice-covered East Antarctic shield critical for understanding both global tectonic and climate history. In the central Transantarctic Mountains (CTAM), exposures of Precambrian basement, coupled with new high-resolution magnetic data, other recent aeromagnetic transects, and satellite magnetic and seismic tomography data, show that the shield in this region comprises an Archean craton modified both by Proterozoic magmatism and early Paleozoic orogenic basement reactivation. CTAM basement structures linked to the Ross Orogeny are imaged 50-100 km farther west than previously mapped, bounded by inboard upper crustal Proterozoic granites of the Nimrod igneous province. Magnetic contrasts between craton and rift margin sediments define the Neoproterozoic rift margin, likely reactivated during Ross orogenesis and Jurassic extension. Interpretation of satellite magnetic and aeromagnetic patterns suggests that the Neoproterozoic rift margin of East Antarctica is offset by transfer zones to form a stepwise series of salients tracing from the CTAM northward through the western margin of the Wilkes Subglacial Basin to the coast at Terre Adlie. Thinned Precambrian crust inferred to lie east of the rift margin cannot be imaged magnetically because of modification by Neoproterozoic and younger tectonic events.