Ring of Fire

The Pacific Ring of Fire
Global earthquakes (1900–2013)
Pictogram Ski Slope red.svg: EQs M7.0+ (depth 0–69km)
RouteIndustriekultur Siedlung Symbol.svg: Active volcanoes.

The Ring of Fire is a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where many earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. In a large 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and plate movements. It has 452 volcanoes (more than 75% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes).[1] The Ring of Fire is sometimes called the circum-Pacific belt.

About 90%[2] of the world's earthquakes and 81%[3] of the world's largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire.[4][5] All but three of the world's 25 largest volcanic eruptions of the last 11,700 years occurred at volcanoes in the Ring of Fire.[6] The Ring of Fire is a direct result of plate tectonics: the movement and collisions of lithospheric plates,[7] especially subduction in the northern portion. The southern portion is more complex, with a number of smaller tectonic plates in collision with the Pacific plate from the Mariana Islands, the Philippines, Bougainville, Tonga, and New Zealand.

History

The presence of a belt of volcanic activity surrounding the Pacific Ocean was observed in the 19th century. "They [the Japanese Islands] are in the line of that immense circle of volcanic development which surrounds the shores of the Pacific from Tierra del Fuego around to the Moluccas." (Matthew Perry, Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, 1852-54, Introduction, Section I, "Name, Extent, and Geography")

About 90%[2] of the world's earthquakes and 81%[3] of the world's largest earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire. The next most seismically active region (5–6% of earthquakes and 17% of the world's largest earthquakes) is the Alpide belt, which extends from Java to the northern Atlantic Ocean via the Himalayas and southern Europe.[4][5]

All but three of the world's 25 largest volcanic eruptions of the last 11,700 years occurred at volcanoes in the Ring of Fire.[6]

The famous and very active San Andreas Fault zone of California is a transform fault which offsets a portion of the East Pacific Rise under the southwestern United States and Mexico; the motion of the fault generates numerous small earthquakes, at multiple times a day, most of which are too small to be felt.[8][9]

The active Queen Charlotte Fault on the west coast of the Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, has generated three large earthquakes during the 20th century: a magnitude 7 event in 1929; a magnitude 8.1 in 1949 (Canada's largest recorded earthquake); and a magnitude 7.4 in 1970.[10]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Ring van Vuur
čeština: Ohnivý kruh
dansk: Ildringen
فارسی: حلقه آتش
Gaeilge: Fáinne Tine
Bahasa Indonesia: Cincin Api Pasifik
íslenska: Eldhringurinn
עברית: טבעת האש
Basa Jawa: Ali-ali geni
қазақша: Отты шеңбер
lietuvių: Ugnies žiedas
Bahasa Melayu: Lingkaran api Pasifik
Simple English: Pacific Ring of Fire
slovenčina: Ohnivý kruh
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Vatreni pojas Pacifika
svenska: Eldringen
اردو: حلقۂ آتش