Carbon flux metasomatism in the subduction environment is an important process, but it remains poorly understood. The paucity of exposed lower crust and upper mantle rocks in continental arcs renders xenoliths a major target for studying the slab-derived carbon cycle. This study of the carbonate phases in volcanic rocks from three drill cores in Ulleung Island, South Korea, sheds light on the interaction of carbon flux in the upper mantle and lower crust in a back-arc setting. The volcanic rocks from Ulleung Island range in composition from trachybasalt to trachyte and contain abundant euhedral pseudomorphic carbonate grains, ulvöspinel-hosted and biotite-hosted carbonate-silicate melt inclusions, and irregular carbonate globules. Integrated petrographic and geochemical studies of a variety of phenocrysts, carbonate phases, and carbonate-silicate inclusions in biotite and ulvöspinel indicate that recharging of carbon flux affected magma evolution. Carbon and oxygen isotopes of the pseudomorphic carbonate grains overlap with mantle values, indicating a carbonatite-like origin of the carbonate phases. The (MgO, FeO, CaO)-rich silicates in ulvöspinel-hosted silicate inclusions and pseudomorphic carbonate grains likely represent a primary melt, which formed from the partial melting of carbonated eclogite of the subducted slab within the mantle wedge beneath Ulleung Island. A petrogenetic model is proposed to illustrate that the crystal mush in the magma chamber was intruded by carbonate-rich liquids and caused alteration of cumulate crystals to generate the euhedral pseudomorphic carbonate grains. The extrusive magma captured those pseudomorphic grains and erupted to form the trachybasalt-trachyte units. The observed carbonate phases and their geochemical characteristics indicate that carbon flux metasomatism played a fundamental role in this back-arc magmatism.

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