Potassium-rich volcanic rocks of the shoshonite suite are common features of postorogenic extensional settings inboard from subduction zones. Various petrogenetic processes and tectonic settings have been proposed for their origin. Early Miocene volcanic rocks of Limnos, part of the northeast Aegean shoshonite belt, show distinctive geochemical features that allow their petrogenesis to be well constrained. The rocks are principally trachyandesites and dacites. Very strong fractionation of light and middle rare earth elements (REEs), similar to that found in adakites, is inconsistent with a mantle source, but it can be modeled by melting of meta-basalt enriched in incompatible elements. A comparison with experimental melting of metabasaltic amphibolite requires small degrees of dehydration melting of amphibole, plagioclase, clinopyroxene, and minor garnet at a temperature >950 °C. Melting was triggered by mantle-derived magma, evidenced by repetitive zoning in clinopyroxene with Cr-rich cores. Nd and Sm isotopes suggest that some of this magma was similar to lamproite found elsewhere in this shoshonite belt and some was of asthenospheric origin. The amphibolite source is inferred to be subduction-enriched metabasalt that underplated the crust during pre-Mesozoic subduction. The regional trigger for dehydration melting was upwelling of asthenosphere as a result of slab detachment. The geochemistry and radiogenic isotopes of other shoshonitic rocks in the northeastern Aegean suggest a similar origin, but with higher degrees of partial melting of base-of-crust metabasaltic amphibolite. Similar processes appear likely for shoshonitic magmatism in some postcollisional settings elsewhere.

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