International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 103, Issue 7, pp 2129–2153 | Cite as

Constraining input and output fluxes of the southern-central Chile subduction zone: water, chlorine and sulfur

  • David VölkerEmail author
  • Heidi Wehrmann
  • Steffen Kutterolf
  • Karthik Iyer
  • Wolfgang Rabbel
  • Jacob Geersen
  • Kaj Hoernle
Original Paper


In this paper, we constrain the input and output fluxes of H2O, Cl and S into the southern-central Chilean subduction zone (31°S–46°S). We determine the input flux by calculating the amounts of water, chlorine and sulfur that are carried into the subduction zone in subducted sediments, igneous crust and hydrated lithospheric mantle. The applied models take into account that latitudinal variations in the subducting Nazca plate impact the crustal porosity and the degree of upper mantle serpentinization and thus water storage in the crust and mantle. In another step, we constrain the output fluxes of the subduction zone both to the subcontinental lithospheric mantle and to the atmosphere–geosphere–ocean by the combined use of gas flux determinations at the volcanic arc, volume calculations of volcanic rocks and the combination of mineralogical and geothermal models of the subduction zone. The calculations indicate that about 68 Tg/m/Ma of water enters the subduction zone, as averaged over its total length of 1,480 km. The volcanic output on the other hand accounts for 2 Tg/m/Ma or 3 % of that input. We presume that a large fraction of the volatiles that are captured within the subducting sediments (which accounts for roughly one-third of the input) are cycled back into the ocean through the forearc. This assumption is however questioned by the present lack of evidence for major venting systems of the submarine forearc. The largest part of the water that is carried into the subduction zone in the crust and hydrated mantle (accounting for two-thirds of the input) appears to be transported beyond the volcanic arc.


Subduction input Forearc dewatering Arc magmatism Volcanic volatile output rates Subduction fluids Southern volcanic zone of Chile 



We sincerely thank reviewers Richard D. Jarrard and Charles Stern, as well as the editor Ralf Halama for their comments that were very helpful for improving this manuscript. This publication is contribution no. 263 of the Sonderforschungsbereich 574 “Volatiles and Fluids in Subduction Zones” at Kiel University.


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Authors and Affiliations

  • David Völker
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Heidi Wehrmann
    • 1
  • Steffen Kutterolf
    • 1
  • Karthik Iyer
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Rabbel
    • 3
  • Jacob Geersen
    • 1
    • 4
  • Kaj Hoernle
    • 1
  1. 1.Collaborative Research Center (SFB) 574 at GEOMAR, Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research KielKielGermany
  2. 2.MARUM Center for Marine Environmental SciencesUniversity of BremenBremenGermany
  3. 3.Institute of GeosciencesCollaborative Research Center (SFB) 574 at the University of KielKielGermany
  4. 4.National Oceanography Centre SouthamptonUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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