We present a δ13C record from the Anti-Atlas mountains of Morocco and place it in the context of a detailed regional tectonostratigraphy. We place the litho- and chemostratigraphic record in a temporal framework using precision U–Pb zircon geochronology of ashes interbedded with the same carbonate units that provide δ13C data. The variations in δ13C of carbonate occur on a wide range of time scales, suggesting that different mechanisms are involved, including non-steady state release of isotopically depleted carbon reservoirs on short (<100 000 years) time scales and changes in nutrient recycling and organic carbon burial on longer (≥1 Ma) time scales. Through a correlation with more fossiliferous, albeit condensed, sections in Siberia, we examine the pattern of cyclic δ13C variation in the context of the reappearance and diversification of skeletonized metazoa during the Early Cambrian.

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