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Compositions of modern first-cycle sands derived from granitic and metamorphic terrains in the Spanish Central System have been analyzed in order to evaluate the contributions of different bedrock types. The results of this work indicate that sand composition normally does not permit quantitative statements concerning sourceland composition. This is due to the fact that each rock type has a different potential to generate sand, dependent on such properties as its mineralogy, average crystal size, and microfabric. We introduce the concept of sand generation index (SGI), which is a relative measure of the capacity of one bedrock type to generate sand with respect to another in a compound source area. SGI of granitoid is 14 to 20 times greater than SGI of slate-schist when these rock types appear in a dual crystalline source. In the case of a gneiss + slate-schist source rock association, the SGI of gneiss is about five times greater than the SGI of slate-schist, whereas the SGI of gneiss is similar to that of granitoid in case of a dual granitoid + gneiss source. Finally, our results show that quantitative estimates of source land composition based on QFR diagrams are hazardous if the concept of the SGI is disregarded.

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