Remnants of hydrous melt formed at mantle depths have been identified and characterized within high-pressure leucogranulites of the Orlica-Śnieżnik Dome (Bohemian Massif, central Europe). They occur as nanogranites in garnet formed via partial melting of granitoids during the Variscan orogeny. Melt composition and H2O content have been investigated in situ after experimental re-homogenization of the nanogranites, and are consistent with melts produced experimentally from crustal lithologies at mantle depths. This is the first geochemical study of melt inclusions from natural crustal rocks equilibrated close to the stability field of coesite, shedding light on how continental crust melts during deep subduction. Whereas decompressional melting is commonly invoked for deeply subducted crustal lithologies, melting occurred near or at the metamorphic peak pressure in the Orlica-Śnieżnik granulites. Melting of deeply subducted crustal rocks significantly modifies the rheology and thus promotes fast exhumation: this process has a critical influence on the geodynamic evolution of subduction-collision orogens as well as crustal differentiation at depth.

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