Ring of Fire

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“Ring of Fire” refers to the zone made up of the Philippines, Hawaii, Polynesia, the Marianne Islands and others. Of the five hundred known active volcanoes on the Earth, more than half are scattered throughout the Pacific Ocean in the above said zone. There are also turbulent volcanoes in Mexico and the Lesser Antilles in Central America and in the Andes ranges including Peru, Bolivia and Southern Chile. Other areas where there is volcanic activity are the Azores and New Zealand. The largest volcano on the land is Mount Kilimanjaro in the East Africa. It is about 19,600 ft. high. 

This huge ring of volcanic and seismic (earthquake) activity was noticed and described before the invention of the theory of plate tectonics theory. We now know that the Ring of Fire is located at the borders of the Pacific Plate and other major tectonic plates.

Plates are like giant rafts of the earth’s surface which often slide next to, collide with, and are forced underneath other plates. Around the Ring of Fire, the Pacific Plate is colliding with and sliding underneath other plates. This process is known as subduction and the volcanically and seismically active area nearby is known as a subduction zone. There is a tremendous amount of energy created by these plates and they easily melt rock into magma, which rises to the surface as lava and forms volcanoes.

Volcanoes are temporary features on the earth’s surface and there are currently about 1500 active volcanoes in the world. About ten percent of these are located in the United States.

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