The origin and mantle dynamics of the Quaternary intraplate sodic and potassic volcanism in northeast China have long been intensely debated. We present a high-resolution, three-dimensional (3-D) crust and upper-mantle S-wave velocity (Vs) model of northeast China by combining ambient noise and earthquake two-plane wave tomography based on unprecedented regional dense seismic arrays. Our seismic images highlight a strong correlation between the basalt geochemistry and upper-mantle seismic velocity structure: Sodic volcanoes are all characterized by prominent low seismic velocities in the uppermost mantle, while potassic volcanoes still possess a normal but thin upper-mantle “lid” depicted by high seismic velocities. Combined with previous petrological and geochemical research findings, we propose that the rarely erupted Quaternary potassic volcanism in northeast China results from the interaction between asthenospheric low-degree melts and the overlying subcontinental lithospheric mantle. In contrast, the more widespread Quaternary sodic volcanism in this region is predominantly sourced from the upwelling asthenosphere without significant overprinting from the subcontinental lithospheric mantle.

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