Pacific Ring of Fire: What It Is And Map - Find Out!

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The Pacific Ring of Fire, also called Pacific Ring of Fire It is an area that is common to hear about in the news around the world, almost always related to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and volcanoes erupting.

If you want to know what is the Pacific Ring of Fire exactly and what are its characteristics, as well as why there are so many earthquakes and volcanoes in it and a list of the main ones, keep reading us in this Green Ecologist article.

What is the Pacific Ring of Fire

The bed of the Pacific Ocean is settled on several tectonic plates in constant friction. This causes these tectonic boundaries to have a great seismic and volcanic activity, which gives rise to Pacific belt or ring of fire, which is the line formed by this set of borders.

It is a dangerous area, since it concentrates 90% of the world's earthquakes, in addition to 80% of the largest. If the question is how many volcanoes there are in the Pacific Ring of Fire, we can affirm that the 75% of volcanoes both active and inactive on the planet: no less than 452 volcanoes.

We advise you to read this other article about the volcanic and seismic regions of the world.

Pacific Ring of Fire map and list of countries

This Belt of Fire encompasses more than 40,000 km, in a horseshoe-shaped area that runs from New Zealand to the west coast of South America, passing through Asia, Alaska, North America and Central America.

It is delimited by the points where the Pacific plate meets the other smaller plates, giving rise to the most relevant subduction zones on the planet. All this great tectonic frontier covers a large number of countries. This is the list of Pacific Ring of Fire countries, arranged clockwise:

  • chili
  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Peru
  • Ecuador
  • Colombia
  • Central America
  • Mexico
  • The United States
  • Canada
  • Then it turns around the Aleutian Islands.
  • Then it goes down the coasts and islands of Russia.
  • China
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • Philippines
  • Indonesia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

The area has received the 10 most serious earthquakes of the current century and the past. Among the most important earthquakes that have occurred in the Pacific Ring of Fire are the magnitude 9 that Russia suffered in 1952 and caused a tsunami that hit Hawaii, the 8.8 magnitude between Ecuador and Colombia in 1906, which caused the deaths of 1000 people from the resulting tsunami and more recently, that of December 26, 2004 in Indonesia and Sumatra, whose tsunami recorded a quarter of a million deaths.

Pacific Ring of Fire volcanoes

The full list of volcanoes on this tectonic frontier is too long to cover them all, but we can mention the most important volcanoes of the Pacific Ring of Fire of the last years.

  • We can start by mentioning Colombia, where in 1985 the Nevado del Ruiz volcano it erupted. Although it was not a major eruption, four lahars formed, large flows of sediment and water, which devastated several surrounding towns, taking 23,000 lives.
  • Three years before, in Mexico, El Chichó it caused 3,500 deaths, and in Indosenia the Galunggung erupted. In 1980 there was the eruption of Mount Santa Helena, which was then believed out of danger. It was an eruption so violent that the relief of the mountain changed, with the summit collapsing and losing 400 meters of altitude.
  • We cannot leave ourselves without mentioning Hawaii's Kilauea volcano, a volcano designated as hyperactive by experts, since it has been in continuous eruption since 1982. However, in May 2022 it was spewing large amounts of lava, which destroyed large amounts of land. This behavior, although spectacular, is not new in the volcano, which had already had a similar episode in 1955, in which it was constantly spitting lava for almost 3 months. The most dangerous thing about the Kilauea eruptions is that, being close to the coast, when the lava reaches the ocean it produces large clouds of toxic gas for humans, which have already caused deaths before.
  • Another of the most devastating eruptions was that of Krakatoa volcano, in 1883. It was so violent that it destroyed the island in several parts, killed more than 36,000 people and could be seen from up to 7,000 km away. It is estimated that the explosion had the power equivalent to 10,000 atomic bombs, which left sailors deaf for up to 50 km around.
  • However, the deadliest volcanoes have erupted in more distant centuries, such as the Mount Tambora in 1815, in Indonesia, or the Mount unzen in Japan in 1792.

So that you can expand this information, we recommend these other Green Ecologist articles:

  • How volcanoes are formed.
  • Parts of a volcano.
  • Types of volcanoes.
  • The most dangerous volcanoes in the world.
  • Volcanic eruptions: definition and types.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pacific Ring of Fire: what it is and mapWe recommend that you enter our Nature Curiosities category.

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