When you hear the phrase “ring of fire” very likely you think of some mystical, fictional object.
You won’t be the only one.
As fun as that would be, in this case, we are not talking about something fictional, but rather about a natural phenomenon.
So what exactly is this cool-sounding natural phenomenon?
The Ring of Fire (also known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, and Circum-Pacific Belt) is a horseshoe-shaped area, characterized by active volcanoes and seismically active site. It outlines the Pacific Ocean.
It is in the basin of the Pacific Ocean and the site of constant seismic activity.
Pacific Ring of Fire map
Here is what it looks like on the map:
9 Pacific Ring of Fire Facts
Want to learn more? Here are 9 more interesting facts about the Pacific Ring of Fire:
1. The Ring of Fire extends over 40,000 kilometers or 25,000 miles.
It stretches from South America, running up to North America, going across the Pacific to Russia and Japan. And finally, it cuts across the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and then ending in New Zealand.
In short – it is humongous!
Fact # 1: The Ring of Fire is 25,000 miles long
2. Japan, Indonesia, and New Zealand are almost entirely covered by the Ring of Fire.
Japan is one of the most tectonically active places on Earth. The Tohoku earthquake that happened in 2011 was the most powerful ever recorded in the history of Japan. It had a magnitude of 9.0-9.1 and caused the 133 feet (or 40.5 meters) tsunami that killed over ten thousand people.
Fact # 2: The Ring of Fire almost entirely covers Japan, Indonesia, and New Zealand
3. The Ring of Fire has 75% of all the volcanoes in the world!
How many is that, in case you are wondering?
452 volcanoes, active and dormant.
Fact # 3: 75% of all the volcanoes in the world are in the Ring of Fire
4. 90% of the world’s earthquakes are located in the Ring of Fire.
The strongest recorded earthquake happened in Chile, in 1960. The Valdivia earthquake was recorded 9.5 out of 10 on the Richter scale.
Fact # 4: 90% of the world’s earthquakes happen in the Ring of Fire
5. During the past 11,700 years, 22 of the 25 largest volcanic eruptions occurred in the Ring of Fire.
The explosion of Mount Tambora is the largest ever recorded in history. When the eruption was at its peak, the volcano was heard on Sumatra Island, more than 1,930 kilometers or 1,200 miles away.
Mount Tambora is still active and it is one of the tallest peaks in Indonesia.
The next year, 1816, was known in Europe and North America as “The Year Without a Summer.” Mount Tambora released so much ash and aerosols in the atmosphere, the year before, that the sky became dark and the sun was blocked from view!
Fact # 5: 22 of the 25 largest volcanic eruptions in the world happened in the Ring of Fire
6. The Ring of Fire lies on the Pacific Plate. It is the largest tectonic plate in the world. It spreads over an area of 103 million square kilometers.
Many tectonic plates surround the Pacific Plate, like Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca, Antarctic, Indian, Australian, Philippine, and other smaller plates.
Fact # 6: The Ring of Fire lies on the Pacific Plate, the largest tectonic plate in the world
7. The large Pacific Plate and the plates surrounding it are constantly colliding into, sliding past, moving above or below each other.
The results of these movements are volcanic eruptions, deep ocean trenches and earthquake epicenters along fault lines.
Fact # 7: The Pacific Plate constantly collides with other tectonic plates
8. Most of the active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire are underwater.
West Mata, a submarine volcano, is located 200 kilometers or 120 miles southwest of the Samoas. Its eruptions are the deepest ever observed.
Fact # 8: Most of the active volcanoes in the Ring of Fire are underwater
9. The Mariana Trench is found on the Ring of Fire. It is located east of Guam.
The trench is 7-mile deep making it the deepest ocean trench in the world.
Fact # 9: The deepest ocean trench in the world, the Marina Trench, is in the Ring of Fire
Learn more about the Ring of Fire
Want to learn more about the Ring of Fire? Then check out this documentary on the Pacific Ring of Fire:
What do you find most interesting about the Ring of Fire? Post your thoughts and ideas in the comments.
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