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The study of Phanerozoic carbonate platforms has had a long, successful scientific history producing a wealth of information regarding carbonate genesis and implications for unraveling paleoclimatic and paleooceanographic conditions, eustatic variations, and basin evolution (e.g., Heckel, 1974; Ginsburg and Klein, 1975; Wilson, 1975; Hardie, 1977; Goldhammer and others 1987; Read, 1985; Tucker and Wright, 1990). Over the past decade or so, several workers have had similar success in documenting and understanding the genesis of Precambrian carbonate rocks (e.g., Bertrand-Sarfarti and Moussine-Pouchkine, 1983; Beukes, 1987; Derry and others, 1989; Eriksson, 1977; Grotzinger, 1986a,b, 1989; Hoffman, 1975; Kaufman and Knoll, 1995; Knoll and Swett, 1990; Tucker, 1983; Zempolich and others, 1988). In fact, it is a consequence of studies on Precambrian carbonates that we in the geoscience community are presently in the privileged position of witnessing firsthand the exciting insights being obtained to help resolve problems as fundamental as the evolution and emergence of early life to secular variations in atmospheric and oceanic composition of the earth system (e.g., Grotzinger, 1994; Knoll, 1991; Knoll and Walter, 1992).

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