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Pacific Ring of Fire

Introduction


The Circum-Pacific Belt, often known as the Ring of Fire, is a region along the Pacific Ocean marked by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. It is roughly 40,000 kilometres long . It traces boundaries between several tectonic plates—including the Pacific, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Indian-Australian, Nazca, North American, and Philippine Plates.


More than 450 volcanoes, or 75% of all volcanoes on Earth, are found along the Ring of Fire. Also, about 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes occur here.The majority of the planet's earthquakes, including the most severe and dramatic seismic occurrences, happen along its course.




Why is it tectonically active ?


Because tectonic plates are moving so much in the region, there are many volcanoes and earthquakes along the Ring of Fire. Along much of the Ring of Fire, plates overlap at convergent boundaries called subduction zones. In other words, the plate above pushes the plate below, or subducts it. As rock is subducted, it melts and becomes magma. The presence of so much magma so close to the Earth's surface creates favourable conditions for volcanic activity. A significant exception is the border between the Pacific and North American Plates. This stretch of the Ring of Fire is a transform boundary, where plates move sideways past one another. As stress builds up and is released in the Earth's crust, this type of boundary causes a lot of earthquakes.



Significance


More than 40% of the world's geothermal energy reserves are located in the Pacific Ring of Fire. Active plate boundaries (divergent or convergent plate types) where volcanism or frequent earthquakes have occurred are strongly linked to geothermal resources. Because of the region's intense tectonic activity, it has accumulated a significant amount of heat that can be converted into geothermal resources.

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