Northeast China hosts one of the largest Cenozoic intraplate volcanic regions in the world. However, the mechanisms that generate the volcanism, its spatial-temporal distribution, and compositional signatures remain highly debated due to the lack of high-resolution images of the mantle’s thermochemical structure. We jointly inverted new surface-wave dispersion data, surface heat flow, geoid height, and elevation data to image the fine-scale thermal and compositional structures beneath northeast China and infer regions of partial melting in the mantle. Our model reveals a complex circulation pattern in the asthenosphere and a highly variable lithospheric structure. Combining predictions from our model with independent geochemical data from recent basaltic volcanism, we demonstrate that the generation, location, and composition of intraplate volcanism in this region are controlled by the interaction between shallow asthenospheric circulation and lithospheric thickness. The modeling approach and correlations between basaltic composition and mantle state identified in our study are globally applicable to assessing mantle conditions over time in other continental regions.

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