The impact of high-latitude physical processes on the sedimentary geology of a passive continental margin is addressed using a sediment record from the Wilkes Land margin of Antarctica. We present sequence stratigraphic models based on analytical data and genetic interpretations of sedimentary facies assemblages observed in drill cores collected by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The examination of drill cores within a previously published seismostratigraphic context enhances the resolution of the sequence stratigraphic interpretations. Weaker tidal forcing, a stronger Coriolis effect and more pronounced seasonality are some of the physical processes that affect erosion and sedimentation at high latitudes, even if ice sheets are absent. In addition, the presence of an ice sheet affects erosion rates, crustal motion, and atmospheric and ocean circulation, with major implications for the development of depositional systems. As a result, high-latitude, ice-covered, passive margins show distinct sedimentary facies associations and their interpretation requires the application of a different suite of sequence stratigraphic models from those applied to low-latitude continental margins.