Subduction of oceanic crust buries an average thickness of 300–500 m of sediment that eventually dehydrates or partially melts. Progressive release of fluid/melt metasomatizes the forearc mantle, forming serpentinite at low temperatures and phlogopite-bearing pyroxenite where slab surface reaches 700–900 °C. This is sufficiently high to partially melt subducted sediments before they approach the depths where arc magmas are formed. Here, we present experiments on reactions between melts of subducted sediments and peridotite at 2–6 GPa/750–1100 °C, which correspond to the surface of a subducting slab. The reaction of volatile-bearing partial melts derived from sediments with depleted peridotite leads to separation of elements and a layered arrangement of metasomatic phases, with layers consisting of orthopyroxene, mica-pyroxenite, and clinopyroxenite. The selective incorporation of elements in these metasomatic layers closely resembles chemical patterns found in K-rich magmas. Trace elements were imaged using LA-ICP-TOFMS, which is applied here to investigate the distribution of trace elements within the metasomatic layers. Experiments of different duration enabled estimates of the growth of the metasomatic front, which ranges from 1–5 m/ky. These experiments explain the low contents of high-field strength elements in arc magmas as being due to their loss during melting of sedimentary materials in the fore-arc.
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- K-rich magmatism
- trace elements
- reaction experiments