The Parnaíba Basin is a Phanerozoic intracontinental basin within the South America plate, lying on top of and within Precambrian terranes. The Parnaíba Basin Analysis Program wide-angle reflection-refraction (WARR) lies east-west and is 1150 km long profile crossing the basin and its margins. The WARRresults show that the crust and uppermost mantle along the profile consist of the Amazonian Craton and Borborema Province, and the Grajaú and Teresina domains comprising the Parnaíba block hidden below the sedimentary cover of the basin itself. The lithospheric characteristics of the Parnaíba block and their differences from the adjacent Precambrian Amazonian Craton and Borborema Province elucidate some aspects of the present day existence of the sedimentary basin covering it. Important elements include the presence of a high mantle velocity and high-velocity lowermost crustal region, interpreted as linked to the intrusion of mafic material into the crust underlying the Grajaú domain, and indications that the crust in this area has been intruded since its consolidation in the Neoproterozoic. It is tentatively proposed that magmatism is related to the inferred thinning of the lower crust of the Teresina and Borborema segments of the profile, with this, in turn, linked to Cretaceous extensional tectonics and the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean.