Although spreading rate is commonly taken as a proxy for decompression mantle melting at mid-ocean ridges (MORs), magmatism at back-arc spreading centers (BASCs) is further influenced by the subduction-related flux melting of the mantle. These regions consequently show a diversity of crustal structures, lava compositions, and morphologies not typically found in MORs. Here we investigate the crustal plumbing system of the small-scale, Marsili back-arc spreading center of the Southern Tyrrhenian Sea using plagioclase data from a wide spectrum of lavas (basalts to andesites) dredged from its summit and flanks. We employ petrological modeling to identify the plagioclase populations carried in the individual lavas, allocate them to plausible magmatic components present within the plumbing system, and trace the processes occurring during magma ascent to the surface. The properties of the system, such as mush porosity and abundance of the melt bodies, vary from one magma extraction zone to another along the BASC, evidencing the local variability of melt supply conditions. The plagioclase crystals document a range of relationships with the host lavas, indicating magma extraction from a composite, vertically extensive mush and melt-lens system resembling that of MORs. At the same time, however, in small BASCs, such as in the case of the Marsili Basin, crustal accretion and resulting morphology are significantly influenced by the three-dimensional setting of the basin margins. This is an important deviation from the conventional model based on the linear continuity and essentially two-dimensional framework of MORs.
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