Abstract

Serpentinites formed by alteration of oceanic and forearc mantle are major volatile and fluid-mobile element reservoirs for arc magmatism, though direct proof of their dominance in the subduction-zone volatile cycles has been elusive. Boron isotopes are established markers of fluid-mediated mass transfer during subduction. Altered oceanic crust and sediments have been shown to release in the subarc mantle 11B-depleted fluids, which cannot explain 11B enrichment of many arcs. In contrast to these crustal reservoirs, we document high δ11B values retained in subduction-zone Alpine serpentinites. No 11B fractionation occurs in these rocks with progressive burial: the released 11B-rich fluids uniquely explain the elevated δ11B of arc magmas. B, O-H, and Sr isotope systems indicate that serpentinization was driven by slab fluids that infiltrated the slab-mantle interface early in the subduction history.

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