Carbon dioxide released by arc volcanoes is widely considered to originate from the mantle and from subducted sediments. Fluids released from upper arc carbonates, however, have recently been proposed to help modulate arc CO2 fluxes. Here we use boron as a tracer, which substitutes for carbon in limestone, to further investigate crustal carbonate degassing in volcanic arcs. We performed laboratory experiments replicating limestone assimilation into magma at crustal pressure-temperature conditions and analysed boron isotope ratios in the resulting experimental glasses. Limestone dissolution and assimilation generates CaO-enriched glass near the reaction site and a CO2-dominated vapour phase. The CaO-rich glasses have extremely low δ11B values down to −41.5‰, reflecting preferential partitioning of 10B into the assimilating melt. Loss of 11B from the reaction site occurs via the CO2 vapour phase generated during carbonate dissolution, which transports 11B away from the reaction site as a boron-rich fluid phase. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of boron isotope fractionation during crustal carbonate assimilation and suggest that low δ11B melt values in arc magmas could flag shallow-level additions to the subduction cycle.
2016. Vol. 6, 30774