Pacific Ring of Fire

Ninety percent of the world's earthquakes occur along which geographic phenomenon?

And the answer: Pacific Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire makes a horseshoe shape around the Pacific Ocean, touching Oceania, Asia, North America, and South America. A direct result of plate tectonics, the Ring of Fire is where 75% of the world's volcanoes are located and where 90% of the world's earthquakes occur.

Along the Ring of Fire, tectonic plates overlap at convergent boundaries called subduction zones. One plate is pushed downward (or subducted) while the other is forced up, melting the bottom plate into magma. The abundance of magma so close to the Earth's surface creates conditions for volcanic activity. Around the Ring of Fire, there are about 450 volcanoes, many of which are active today.

Oftentimes, volcanic seismic activity spurs other natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and even volcanic lightning. Just this past January, a volcano named Taal in Indonesia set off once again, creating earth-trembling explosions and raining ash into the surrounding towns. In 2018, another volcano named Mt. Mayon in the Philippines let loose its wrath, temporarily forcing relocation of thousands of residents. Mt. Mayon, like others in the Ring of Fire, is an active volcano that has erupted about 50 times in the past 500 years. The Philippines alone has around 22 active volcanoes.

The Ring of Fire continues to wreak havoc on the lives of those who call its regions home. Check out the video below to catch a glimpse into our earth's most powerful explosions.


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