The Ribeira belt in SE Brazil is a Neoproterozoic to Early Palaeozoic orogen, whose architecture and history is not yet fully understood. The depositional age of many of the sedimentary sequences in the Ribeira Belt remains unconstrained, and with debate concerning their depositional environment and tectonic setting. In this paper we present SHRIMP zircon U/Pb age constraints for one such problematic unit in the Ribeira Belt the lporanga Formation - and discuss the significance of this age with regards to the timing of Neoproterozoic glacial events in southeast Brazil. Using a felsic volcanic unit immediately under the lporanga Formation and granite cobbles from breccias in its basal parts a reconnaissance SHRIMP U/Pb zircon maximum depositional age of 580 Ma is assigned for the base of this unit. This age is marginally younger than the 625605 Ma ages for intrusions into the Lajeado and Ribeira subgroups, with which the lporanga Formation is in tectonic contact. This indicates that the Lajeado and Ribeira subgroups are not stratigraphically equivalent to the lporanga Formation, as thought previously by some workers. The maximum depositional age of 580 Ma also places a maximum time constraint on the tectonic juxtaposition of the lporanga Formation with other supracrustal units, and on the greenschist facies metamorphism and isoclinal folding that affected it. The potential glacial origin for the lporanga Formation, if correct, would place it in the late Ediacaran - provisionally equivalent to the Gaskiers glaciation. (c) 2007 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.