RING OF FIRE (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     4th April 2024        
output themes

Context: Taiwan is in a seismically active zone ringing the Pacific. Most of the world's earthquakes happen in this Ring.

Ring of Fire

  • About: It is a vast geological phenomenon comprising hundreds of volcanoes and earthquake-prone areas encircling the Pacific Ocean.
  • Geographical Extent: This horseshoe-shaped ring spans nearly 40,250 km and encompasses the meeting points of various tectonic plates, such as the Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, and others.
  • Tectonic Plate Interaction: The Ring of Fire is formed due to the convergence and interaction of numerous tectonic plates, including smaller ones like the Caribbean, Nazca, and Indian plates, around the larger Pacific Plate.
  • Countries Along the Ring: Notable Pacific coast countries, including the US, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Russia, Chile, Peru, and the Philippines, are traversed by the Ring of Fire.

Vulnerability to Earthquakes in the Ring of Fire

  • Constant Plate Movement: The earthquakes are triggered as tectonic plates constantly slide past, collide with, or move above or below each other along the ring.
  • Taiwan's Tectonic Interaction: Quakes in Taiwan result from the interaction of two tectonic plates—the Philippine Sea Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
  • Pacific Ocean Dynamics: The rough edges of the plates within the Ring of Fire get stuck to each other, leading to earthquakes when they become unstuck along faults.

Why are there so many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire?

  • Subduction Zone Formation: Many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire are formed through subduction, where one tectonic plate is shoved under another, creating deep trenches.
  • Magma Generation: Subduction of oceanic plates into hotter mantle plates generates magma, which rises to the surface, forming volcanoes.
  • Prevalence of Subduction Zones: Most subduction zones, crucial for volcano formation, are concentrated within the Ring of Fire.