Volcanoes and Earthquakes: The Pacific Ring of Fire

February 16, 2021, 10.18 PM
The aftermath of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami that hit Aceh, Indonesia and other countries around the Indian Ocean Z. MuttakienThe aftermath of the 2004 earthquake and tsunami that hit Aceh, Indonesia and other countries around the Indian Ocean

KOMPAS.com - How big is the Pacific Ring of Fire?

The Ring of Fire dominates the Pacific Ocean. It's a string of at least 450 active and dormant volcanoes that form a semi-circle, or horse shoe, around the Philippine Sea plate, the Pacific Plate, Juan de Fuca and Cocos plates, and the Nazca Plate.

There is a lot of seismic activity in the area.

About 90 percent of all earthquakes strike within the Ring of Fire.

This means people's lives are under almost constant threat in Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and other island nations like the Solomon Islands, Fiji, and many more in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia, all the way east to the western seaboard of the North and South Americas.

Also read: Indonesia's Mount Merapi Continuously Spews Hot Clouds and Ash

 

Hot clouds come out of the crater of Mount Semeru, East Java on Saturday (16/1/2021)KOMPAS.COM/Dok. PVMBG Hot clouds come out of the crater of Mount Semeru, East Java on Saturday (16/1/2021)

Although levels of threat differ depending on local factors like your proximity to the quake's epicenter, whether it's out to sea or on land - and standards of housing.

Why so many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire?

The tectonic plates move non-stop over a layer of partly solid and partly molten rock. This is called the Earth's mantle.

When the plates collide or move apart, for instance, the Earth moves, literally. Mountains, like the Andes in South America and the Rockies in North America, as well as volcanoes have formed through the collision of tectonic plates.

A map of volcanoes around the Indo-Pacific Ring of FireDeutsche Welle A map of volcanoes around the Indo-Pacific Ring of Fire

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