The transfer of material from subducting slabs to the overlying mantle is one of the most important processes regulating Earth’s geochemical cycles. A major part of this material cycling involves slab devolatilization and the release of sediment- and slab-derived fluids to the mantle wedge, triggering melting and subsequent arc volcanism. Previous geodynamic, geophysical, and geochemical studies have revealed many important controls on fluid fluxing to the mantle and its manifestations in arc magmas. However, it remains difficult to identify the specific mineral breakdown reactions that control element fluxes from the subducting slab into the overriding mantle. To address this challenge, we combine global arc whole-rock compositional data with geophysical information (e.g., depths to slab) and thermodynamic data. We observe three peaks in Ba/Nb in global arc magma whole-rock compositions corresponding to depths to slab of 60, 120, and >290 km. Using published thermodynamic and geodynamic models of slab evolution, we show that these peaks can be linked to the progressive breakdown of hydrous minerals (e.g., epidote, actinolite, lawsonite) in subducting slabs.

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