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We analyzed modern fluvial sands in the Iberian Range in order to obtain an accurate description of the different typologies of carbonate grains and to interpret their origin. Head streams of the Iberian Range mainly receive carbonate sediments as (1) fragments from ancient carbonate rocks, and (2) penecontemporaneous carbonate grains generated in the fluvial channels or in associated subenvironments. The erosion of proximal carbonate sources (Jurassic and Cretaceous in age) contributes to the generation of carbonate rock fragments. In addition, erosion of recent freshwater tufas, carbonate soils, and other recent carbonates produces an important volume of penecontemporaneous carbonate particles. Temperate to subhumid climate and short transport conditions promote good preservation of the composition and textures of carbonate grains in modern fluvial sands. Detailed petrographic analyses on penecon-temporaneous carbonates provide diagnostic clues of their origin. Four main petrographic classes of penecontemporaneous grains have been established: (1) penecon-temporaneous micritic grains, which are composed of microcrystalline calcite with a filamentous or laminated microfabric, are derived from erosion of recent freshwater carbonate tufas. Penecontemporaneous micritic grains with alveolar microfabric are derived from recent carbonate soils. (2) Penecontemporaneous sparitic grains, which are composed of single crystals or of mosaics with filamentous microfabric, are the result of erosion of carbonate tufas. Other penecontemporaneous sparitic grains include Microcodium and speleothems fragments. (3) Penecontemporaneous coated grains, which are composed of a nucleus plus a coating of penecontemporaneous carbonate, represent bioinduced carbonate particles (cyanoliths) that originate in streams. (4) Penecontemporaneous bioclasts, made from charophytes, ostracods, and mollusks, are rare. Identification of these grain categories in ancient deposits has implications for coeval carbonate supplies during fluvial sedimentation.

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