A major oceanographic event preserved in the Cocos plate sedimentary column survived subduction and is recorded in the changing composition of Nicaraguan magmas. A uranium increase in these magmas since the latest Miocene (after 7 Ma) resulted from the “carbonate crash” at 10 Ma and the ensuing high organic carbon burial in the sediments. The response of the arc to this paleoceanographic event requires near steady-state sediment recycling at this margin since 20 Ma. This relative stability in sediment subduction invites one of the first attempts to balance sedimentary input and arc output across a subduction zone. Calculations based on Th indicate that as much as 75% of the sedimentary column was subducted beneath the arc. The Nicaraguan margin is one of the few places to observe such strong links between the oceans and the solid earth.