Ring of Fire

The Pacific Ring of Fire
Global earthquakes (1900–2013)
Pictogram Ski Slope red.svg: Earthquakes of magnitude ≥ 7.0 (depth 0–69km)
RouteIndustriekultur Siedlung Symbol.svg: Active volcanoes
Global map of subduction zones, with subducted slabs contoured by depth
Subduction zone
The tectonic plates of the Pacific Ocean in the Early Jurassic (180 Ma)
Present-day principal tectonic plates of the Earth
Chilean-type and Mariana-type subduction zones
Map of earthquake epicenters at the Kuril–Kamchatka trench and subduction zone
Layers of phreatomagmatic tephra on Deception Island
Llaima's 2008 eruption
Lascar erupting in 2006
Tungurahua erupting molten lava at night (1999)
Crater of Poás volcano in Costa Rica, 2004
Santiaguito Volcano, 2003 eruption in Guatemala
The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt
Area of the Cascadia subduction zone, including the Cascade Volcanic Arc (red triangles)
American Cascade Range volcano eruptions in the last 4000 years
Map of young volcanoes in Western Canada
The Mount Meager massif as seen from the east near Pemberton, British Columbia: Summits left to right are Capricorn Mountain, Mount Meager, and Plinth Peak.
Kambalny, an active volcano in the Kamchatka Peninsula
Mount Fuji at sunrise from Lake Kawaguchi
Map showing major volcanoes of the Philippines
Mayon Volcano overlooks a pastoral scene about five months before the volcano's violent eruption in September 1984.
Major volcanoes in Indonesia
Papua New Guinea and tectonic plates: Pacific Plate, Australian Plate, Caroline Plate, Banda Sea Plate (as "Mer de Banda"), Woodlark Plate, Bird's Head Plate, Maoke Plate, Solomon Sea Plate, North Bismarck Plate, South Bismarck Plate and Manus Plate (in French)
Volcanic eruption at West Mata submarine volcano between Samoa and Tonga, 2010
Major volcanoes of New Zealand
View of Mount Taranaki from Stratford

Region around much of the rim of the Pacific Ocean where many volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur.

- Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire

241 related topics

Relevance

Bromo volcano in Indonesia. This country has more than 130 active volcanoes, one of which is a supervolcano, making Indonesia the country with the most active volcanoes in the world.

Volcano

Rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

Rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface.

Bromo volcano in Indonesia. This country has more than 130 active volcanoes, one of which is a supervolcano, making Indonesia the country with the most active volcanoes in the world.
Cordillera de Apaneca volcanic range in El Salvador. The country is home to 170 volcanoes, 23 which are active, including two calderas, one being a supervolcano. El Salvador has earned the epithets endearment La Tierra de Soberbios Volcanes, (The Land of Magnificent Volcanoes).
Sabancaya volcano erupting, Peru in 2017
Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska photographed from the International Space Station, May 2006
An eruption of Mount Pinatubo on June 12, 1991, three days before its climactic eruption
Fountain of lava erupting from a volcanic cone in Hawaii, 1983
Aerial view of the Barren Island, Andaman Islands, India, during an eruption in 1995. It is the only active volcano in South Asia.
Map showing the divergent plate boundaries (oceanic spreading ridges) and recent sub-aerial volcanoes (mostly at convergent boundaries)
Lakagigar fissure vent in Iceland, the source of the major world climate alteration of 1783–84, has a chain of volcanic cones along its length.
Skjaldbreiður, a shield volcano whose name means "broad shield"
Izalco volcano, the youngest volcano in El Salvador. Izalco erupted almost continuously from 1770 (when it formed) to 1958, earning it the nickname of "Lighthouse of the Pacific".
Cross-section through a stratovolcano (vertical scale is exaggerated):
Satellite images of the 15 January 2022 eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haʻapai
Pāhoehoe lava flow on Hawaii. The picture shows overflows of a main lava channel.
The Stromboli stratovolcano off the coast of Sicily has erupted continuously for thousands of years, giving rise to its nickname "Lighthouse of the Mediterranean"
Columnar-jointed basalt lava erupted from a volcano, South Penghu Marine National Park in Taiwan
Light-microscope image of tuff as seen in thin section (long dimension is several mm): The curved shapes of altered glass shards (ash fragments) are well preserved, although the glass is partly altered. The shapes were formed around bubbles of expanding, water-rich gas.
Fresco with Mount Vesuvius behind Bacchus and Agathodaemon, as seen in Pompeii's House of the Centenary
Narcondam Island, India, is classified as a dormant volcano by the Geological Survey of India
Fourpeaked volcano, Alaska, in September 2006 after being thought extinct for over 10,000 years
Mount Rinjani eruption in 1994, in Lombok, Indonesia
Shiprock in New Mexico, US
Capulin Volcano National Monument in New Mexico, US
Koryaksky volcano towering over Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on Kamchatka Peninsula, Far Eastern Russia
Schematic of volcano injection of aerosols and gases
Solar radiation graph 1958–2008, showing how the radiation is reduced after major volcanic eruptions
Sulfur dioxide concentration over the Sierra Negra Volcano, Galapagos Islands, during an eruption in October 2005
Comparison of major United States supereruptions (VEI 7 and 8) with major historical volcanic eruptions in the 19th and 20th century. From left to right: Yellowstone 2.1 Ma, Yellowstone 1.3 Ma, Long Valley 6.26 Ma, Yellowstone 0.64 Ma . 19th century eruptions: Tambora 1815, Krakatoa 1883. 20th century eruptions: Novarupta 1912, St. Helens 1980, Pinatubo 1991.
The Tvashtar volcano erupts a plume 330 km (205 mi) above the surface of Jupiter's moon Io.
Olympus Mons (Latin, "Mount Olympus"), located on the planet Mars, is the tallest known mountain in the Solar System.

For example, a mid-ocean ridge, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has volcanoes caused by divergent tectonic plates whereas the Pacific Ring of Fire has volcanoes caused by convergent tectonic plates.

Mount St. Helens pictured the day before the 1980 eruption, which removed much of the northern face of the mountain, leaving a large crater

Mount St. Helens

Active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Active stratovolcano located in Skamania County, Washington in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Mount St. Helens pictured the day before the 1980 eruption, which removed much of the northern face of the mountain, leaving a large crater
Plate tectonics of the Cascade Range
The symmetrical appearance of St. Helens prior to the 1980 eruption earned it the nickname "Mount Fuji of America". The once familiar shape was formed out of the Kalama and Goat Rocks eruptive periods.
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, at 08:32 PDT.
Appearance of the "Whaleback" in February 2005
Twenty years after the 1980 eruption, dead trees caused by the blast were still standing.
Indigenous American legends were inspired by the volcano's beauty.
19th-century photo of a fur trapper working in the Mount St. Helens area
Painting by Paul Kane Mount St. Helens erupting at night after his 1847 visit to the area
David A. Johnston hours before he was killed by the eruption
View of the hillside at the Johnston Ridge Observatory (named for David A. Johnston), 16 July 2016, 36 years after the eruption, showing recovering plant growth

The volcano is part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc, a segment of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Simplified map of Earth's principal tectonic plates, which were mapped in the second half of the 20th century (red arrows indicate direction of movement at plate boundaries)

Plate tectonics

Generally accepted scientific theory that considers the Earth's lithosphere to comprise a number of large tectonic plates which have been slowly moving since about 3.4 billion years ago.

Generally accepted scientific theory that considers the Earth's lithosphere to comprise a number of large tectonic plates which have been slowly moving since about 3.4 billion years ago.

Simplified map of Earth's principal tectonic plates, which were mapped in the second half of the 20th century (red arrows indicate direction of movement at plate boundaries)
Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale)
Divergent boundary
Convergent boundary
Transform boundary
Plate motion based on Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite data from NASA JPL. Each red dot is a measuring point and vectors show direction and magnitude of motion.
Detailed map showing the tectonic plates with their movement vectors.
Alfred Wegener in Greenland in the winter of 1912–13.
Global earthquake epicenters, 1963–1998. Most earthquakes occur in narrow belts that correspond to the locations of lithospheric plate boundaries.
Map of earthquakes in 2016
Seafloor magnetic striping.
A demonstration of magnetic striping. (The darker the color is, the closer it is to normal polarity)
Plate tectonics map

The majority of the world's active volcanoes occur along plate boundaries, with the Pacific Plate's Ring of Fire being the most active and widely known today.

Antarctic Peninsula map

Antarctic Peninsula

Northernmost part of mainland Antarctica.

Northernmost part of mainland Antarctica.

Antarctic Peninsula map
Location of the Antarctic Peninsula within Antarctica
Booth Island and Mount Scott flank the narrow Lemaire Channel on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, 2001
Off the coast of the Peninsula are numerous islands. Here is Webb Island and, behind it, Adelaide Island. See the image description page for a detailed description of the other geographical features.
German research vessel RV Polarstern at the wharf of the British Rothera Research Station
Geographic map of Antarctica
Satellite image of Antarctic Peninsula
Relief map
Nearly cloud-free view of the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula during Spring
Hope Bay glacier, 2012
The last ice age in thousands of years
Glaciomarine sedimentation at the margin of an ice-covered continent during interglacial
The Antarctic fur seal, once reduced to a small population on South Georgia after being hunted towards extinction, has returned to the waters around the Antarctic Peninsula.
Adélie penguins, 2012
Antarctic Peninsula's tectonic movement

Ring of Fire volcanic rocks erupted in the Jurassic, with the breakup of Gondwana, and outcrop in eastern Graham Land as volcanic ash deposits.

Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Islands.

Aleutian Islands

The Aleutian Islands ( Алеутские острова; ,”Land of the Aleuts", possibly from Chukchi aliat, "island"), also called the Aleut Islands or Aleutic Islands and known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller islands. Most of the Aleutian Islands belong to the U.S. state of Alaska, but some belong to the Russian federal subject of Kamchatka Krai. They form part of the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean, occupying a land area of 6,821 sq mi (17,666 km2) and extending about 1200 mi westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, and act as a border between the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Crossing longitude 180°, at which point east and west longitude end, the archipelago contains both the westernmost part of the United States by longitude (Amatignak Island) and the easternmost by longitude (Semisopochnoi Island).

The Aleutian Islands ( Алеутские острова; ,”Land of the Aleuts", possibly from Chukchi aliat, "island"), also called the Aleut Islands or Aleutic Islands and known before 1867 as the Catherine Archipelago, are a chain of 14 large volcanic islands and 55 smaller islands. Most of the Aleutian Islands belong to the U.S. state of Alaska, but some belong to the Russian federal subject of Kamchatka Krai. They form part of the Aleutian Arc in the Northern Pacific Ocean, occupying a land area of 6,821 sq mi (17,666 km2) and extending about 1200 mi westward from the Alaska Peninsula toward the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, and act as a border between the Bering Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. Crossing longitude 180°, at which point east and west longitude end, the archipelago contains both the westernmost part of the United States by longitude (Amatignak Island) and the easternmost by longitude (Semisopochnoi Island).

Unalaska Island in the Aleutian Islands.
The Aleutian Islands from 32,000 feet (9,700 m).
Active Aleutian volcanoes.
Cape Promontory, Cape Lutkes on Unimak Island in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.
Image of the islands taken by the STS-56 crew.
These cloud formations were seen over the western Aleutian Islands.
ASTER image of the islands.
Aleutian Islands on May 15, 2014, by NASA's Aqua satellite.

The islands, with their 57 volcanoes, form the northernmost part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Composite map of the islands between Kamchatka Peninsula and Nemuro Peninsula, combining twelve US Army Map Service maps compiled in the early 1950s

Kuril Islands

The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (Japanese: "Kuril Islands" (クリル列島) or "Thousand Islands" (千島列島)) are a volcanic archipelago part of Sakhalin Oblast in the Russian Far East.

The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands (Japanese: "Kuril Islands" (クリル列島) or "Thousand Islands" (千島列島)) are a volcanic archipelago part of Sakhalin Oblast in the Russian Far East.

Composite map of the islands between Kamchatka Peninsula and Nemuro Peninsula, combining twelve US Army Map Service maps compiled in the early 1950s
Caldera of the island Ushishir
Stratovolcano Mt. Ruruy; view from Yuzhno-Kurilsk
Kuril Ainu people next to their traditional dwelling.
A map of Kuril Islands from Gisuke Sasamori's 1893 book Chishima Tanken
Historical extent of the Ainu
Shana Village in Etorofu (Shōwa period): a village hospital in the foreground, a factory in the left background with a fishery and a central radio tower (before 1945).
Main village in Shikotan
Russian Orthodox church, Kunashir
Yuzhno-Kurilsk, Kunashir
Severo-Kurilsk, Paramushir
Atlasov
A view of the volcano Bogdan Khmelnitsky on Iturup Island
Mendeleyeva in the southern part of Kunashir
Yuzhno-Kurilsky District
Ebeko volcano, Paramushir
White Rocks, Iturup

The Kuril Islands form part of the ring of tectonic instability encircling the Pacific Ocean referred to as the Ring of Fire.

Earthquake epicenters occur mostly along tectonic plate boundaries, and especially on the Pacific Ring of Fire.

Earthquake

Shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves.

Shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth's lithosphere that creates seismic waves.

Earthquake epicenters occur mostly along tectonic plate boundaries, and especially on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
Global plate tectonic movement
Aerial photo of the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of Los Angeles
Comparison of the 1985 and 2017 earthquakes on Mexico City, Puebla and Michoacán/Guerrero
Collapsed Gran Hotel building in the San Salvador metropolis, after the shallow 1986 San Salvador earthquake
Magnitude of the Central Italy earthquakes of August and October 2016 and January 2017 and the aftershocks (which continued to occur after the period shown here)
The Messina earthquake and tsunami took as many as 200,000 lives on December 28, 1908, in Sicily and Calabria.
1755 copper engraving depicting Lisbon in ruins and in flames after the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which killed an estimated 60,000 people. A tsunami overwhelms the ships in the harbor.
Damaged buildings in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 2010.
Ruins of the Għajn Ħadid Tower, which collapsed in an earthquake in 1856
Fires of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake
The tsunami of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
Earthquakes (M6.0+) since 1900 through 2017
Earthquakes of magnitude 8.0 and greater from 1900 to 2018. The apparent 3D volumes of the bubbles are linearly proportional to their respective fatalities.
An image from a 1557 book depicting an earthquake in Italy in the 4th century BCE

Most of the world's earthquakes (90%, and 81% of the largest) take place in the 40000 km, horseshoe-shaped zone called the circum-Pacific seismic belt, known as the Pacific Ring of Fire, which for the most part bounds the Pacific Plate.

"Cono de Arita" in the Puna de Atacama, Salta (Argentina)

Andes

The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains (Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America.

The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains (Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America.

"Cono de Arita" in the Puna de Atacama, Salta (Argentina)
Aconcagua
Aerial view of Valle Carbajal in the Fuegian
The Andes range is about 200 km wide throughout its length, except in the Bolivian flexure where it is about 640 km wide.
Rift valley near Quilotoa, Ecuador
This photo from the ISS shows the high plains of the Andes Mountains in the foreground, with a line of young volcanoes facing the much lower Atacama Desert
Central Andes
Bolivian Andes
Laguna de Sonso tropical dry forest in Northern Andes
A male Andean cock-of-the-rock, a species found in humid Andean forests and the national bird of Peru
Herds of alpacas near Ausangate mountain
Peruvian farmers sowing maize and beans
Irrigating land in the Peruvian Andes
Chilean huasos, 19th century
The Aconcagua, Argentina, the highest mountain in the Americas
Sajama, Bolivia
Parinacota, Bolivia/Chile
View of Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
Nevado del Huila, Colombia
Chimborazo near Riobamba, Ecuador
Huandoy, Peru
Alpamayo, Peru
Mount Humboldt at sunset

The Andes are a Mesozoic–Tertiary orogenic belt of mountains along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of volcanic activity that encompasses the Pacific rim of the Americas as well as the Asia-Pacific region.

The andes mountains are one of the tallest.Map of the volcanic arcs in the Andes, and subducted structures affecting volcanism

Andean Volcanic Belt

Major volcanic belt along the Andean cordillera in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Major volcanic belt along the Andean cordillera in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The andes mountains are one of the tallest.Map of the volcanic arcs in the Andes, and subducted structures affecting volcanism

The Geophysics Institute at the National Polytechnic School in Quito, Ecuador houses an international team of seismologists and volcanologists whose responsibility is to monitor Ecuador's numerous active volcanoes in the Andean Volcanic Belt (which is part of the Ring of Fire) and the Galápagos Islands.

Pacific Plate

Oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Oceanic tectonic plate that lies beneath the Pacific Ocean.

Pacific Plate and other principal plates of Earth's lithosphere
The Pacific Plate began forming when the triple junction at the center of Panthalassa destabilized about 190 million years ago.

A geologic map of the Pacific Ocean seabed shows not only the geologic sequences, and associated Ring of Fire zones on the ocean's perimeters, but the various ages of the seafloor in a stairstep fashion, youngest to oldest, the oldest being consumed into the Asian oceanic trenches.