Novel Age Constraints for the Onset of the Steptoean Positive Isotopic Carbon Excursion (SPICE) and the Late Cambrian Time Scale Using High-Precision U-Pb Detrital Zircon Ages

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The Steptoean Positive Isotopic Carbon Excursion (SPICE) is a prominent +4–5‰ shift in the Cambrian δ13C record used for global chronostratigraphic correlation. The onset of this excursion is traditionally placed at the base of the Pterocephaliid trilobite biomere (base of the Furongian Series). Recent studies have documented local controls on the expression of the SPICE and emphasize the need for chronostratigraphic standards for these complex biogeochemical signals. We build upon prior work in western Laurentia by integrating δ13C and biostratigraphy with high-precision isotope dilution U-Pb detrital zircon maximum depositional ages that are coincident with the onset, peak, and falling limb of the SPICE. Our study provides the first useful numerical age constraint for the onset of the SPICE and the Laurentian trilobite biozones and requires revision of the late Cambrian geologic time scale boundaries by several million years.