In contrast to most large-volume silicic magmas in continental arcs, which are thought to evolve as open systems with significant assimilation of preexisting crust, the Kos Plateau Tuff magma formed dominantly by crystal fractionation of mafic parents. Deposits from this ∼60 km3 pyroclastic eruption (the largest known in the Aegean arc) lack xenocrystic zircons [secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) U-Pb ages on zircon cores never older than 500 ka] and display Sr-Nd whole-rock isotopic ratios within the range of European mantle in an area with exposed Paleozoic and Tertiary continental crust; this evidence implies a nearly closed-system chemical differentiation. Consequently, the age range provided by zircon SIMS U-Th-Pb dating is a reliable indicator of the duration of assembly and longevity of the silicic magma body above its solidus. The age distribution from 160 ka (age of eruption by sanidine 40Ar/39Ar dating; Smith et al., 1996) to ca. 500 ka combined with textural characteristics (high crystal content, corrosion of most anhydrous phenocrysts, but stability of hydrous phases) suggest (1) a protracted residence in the crust as a crystal mush and (2) rejuvenation (reduced crystallization and even partial resorption of minerals) prior to eruption probably induced by new influx of heat (and volatiles). This extended evolution chemically isolated from the surrounding crust is a likely consequence of the regional geodynamics because the thinned Aegean microplate acts as a refractory container for magmas in the dying Aegean subduction zone (continent-continent subduction).