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The Aeolian Island arc, emplaced on continental lithosphere, is composed of seven islands and several seamounts, which have evidence of magmatic activity from 1.3 Ma (Sisifo seamounts) to present time (Vulcano, Stromboli). The rock compositions belong to different magmatic series and show a large silica range (48–76 wt%). Calc-alkaline and high-K calc-alkaline volcanics are present in all the islands, except for Vulcano. Shoshonitic rocks are only lacking at Alicudi, Filicudi, and Salina. Potassic magmas have been erupted at Vulcano and Stromboli. The different parental magmas originated in a heterogeneous mid-ocean-ridge basalt (MORB)–like mantle wedge, variously metasomatized by subduction-related components (oceanic crust + sediments, released as either fluids or sediment melts).

Trace-element and Sr-Nd isotopic ratios show clear geographical west-east variations among calc-alkaline rocks. The composition of the mantle source of Stromboli is strongly influenced by the addition of a sedimentary component recycled into the mantle wedge; it shows evidence of a higher amount (∼2%) than in all the other islands (<0.5%). Furthermore, the islands from the central sector of the arc are characterized by a higher proportion of slab-derived fluids, which promotes a higher degree of melting. In this frame, the high Pb isotopic ratios (HIMU-like [high µ–like]) of the rocks of the central and western branch of the arc are explained with the high 206Pb/204Pb carried from a fluid component derived from the dehydration of the ancient subducting Ionian oceanic crust. On the contrary, the low Pb isotope signature of Stromboli magmas is dictated by the sediment input, as for Sr and Nd isotopes.

Parental shoshonitic magmas of Vulcano are generated by low melting degrees of a MORB-like mantle wedge, metasomatized by crustal contaminant with high fluids/sediment values, whereas Vulcano potassic magmas are interpreted as deriving from the shoshonitic magmas by refilling, tapping, fractionation, assimilation (RTFA) processes. At Stromboli, potassic to calc-alkaline magmas are generated by increasing melting degrees of a heterogeneous veined mantle. The involvement of K-micas in the genesis of potassic magmas (during partial melting of mantle wedge and/or subducted sediments) is also suggested.

U-Th disequilibria confirm the higher fluid versus melt proportion in the central than in the western islands. At Stromboli, the 238U excesses measured in calc-alkaline volcanics suggest a consistent addition of slab-derived fluids in the source, also promoting higher degrees of melting. The shift to the consistent 230Th excesses in shoshonitic and potassic rocks requires dynamic melting processes capable of producing in-growth of 230Th. Quantitative modeling suggests lower melting rates for shoshonitic and potassic rocks, which are consistent with the lower melting degree proposed for these magmas.

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