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Widespread slab melting in modern subduction zones

Klaver, Martijn; Yogodzinski, Gene; Albert, Capucine; Camejo-Harry, Michal; Elburg, Marlina; Hoernle, Kaj; Macpherson, Colin; Nowell, Geoff; Rushmer, Tracy; Williams, Helen; Millet, Marc-Alban


Martijn Klaver

Gene Yogodzinski

Capucine Albert

Michal Camejo-Harry

Marlina Elburg

Kaj Hoernle

Tracy Rushmer

Helen Williams

Marc-Alban Millet


It is still a matter of intense debate to what extent partial melting of the subducting slab contributes to arc magmatism in modern subduction zones. In particular, it is difficult to differentiate between silicate melts formed by partial melting of the slab, and aqueous fluids released during subsolidus dehydration as the main medium for slab-to-mantle wedge mass transfer. Here we use δ49/47Ti (the deviation in 49Ti/47Ti of a sample to the OL-Ti reference material) as a robust geochemical tracer of slab melting. Hydrous partial melting of subducted oceanic crust and the superjacent sedimentary layer produces silicic melts in equilibrium with residual rutile. Modelling shows that such silicic slab melts have notably higher δ49/47Ti (+0.24 ± 0.06 ‰) than their protolith due to the strong preference of rutile for the lighter isotopes of Ti. In contrast, even highly saline fluids cannot carry Ti from the slab and hence hydrous peridotite partial melts have δ49/47Ti similar to mid-ocean ridge basalts (MORB; ca. 0 ‰).


Klaver, M., Yogodzinski, G., Albert, C., Camejo-Harry, M., Elburg, M., Hoernle, K., …Millet, M. (2024). Widespread slab melting in modern subduction zones. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 626, Article 118544.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 6, 2023
Online Publication Date Dec 15, 2023
Publication Date Jan 15, 2024
Deposit Date Feb 8, 2024
Publicly Available Date Dec 16, 2024
Journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters
Print ISSN 0012-821X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 626
Article Number 118544
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