Before we start with our list of Pacific Ring of Fire facts, we will like to give you a snapshot of the content you should be expecting in this article. Here are the six basic questions that we will cover in this article:
- What is Pacific Ring of Fire?
- Why is it called Ring of Fire?
- Why earthquakes are common around Ring of Fire?
- What are the countries that belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire?
- How big is Pacific Ring of Fire?
- Is the Ring of Fire a complete Ring?
The list that will follow shortly will try to answer all these four questions in the most concise fashion possible. So, let us being with the list of facts about Ring of Fire…
Pacific Ring of Fire Facts: 1-5 | What is Ring of Fire?
1. What is Pacific Ring of Fire? It actually refers to a massive region in the Pacific Ocean. This area sits in the basin of Pacific Ocean. It is the home to 452 volcanoes that make up 75% of all volcanoes present in this world.
2. It is also the region where 90% of all the earthquakes that take place in world actually happen.
3. As far as the volcanoes are concerned, not all of them are active. Many of them are active while many of them are dormant.
4. As far volcanic eruptions are concerned, 22 out of 25 largest volcanic eruptions that the world has experienced in last 11,7000 years have all occurred in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
5. If that is not enough to scare you, here is another disturbing Ring of Fire fact: 81% of the most devastating earthquakes that have ever happened in recorded history have all occurred in this Ring of Fire.
Pacific Ring of Fire Facts: 6-10 | Why is it called Ring of Fire?
6. Why is it called Ring of Fire? Now that’s an interesting question. The answer to this question is one simple things – the magma!
7. This is the region where several tectonic plates meet. The only problem is that these plates are constantly floating on mantle. Because the float around, they either collide with each other, or they are pulled apart or they just slide along each other. Doesn’t sound that bad, right? But wait, we are not done yet.
8. When the tectonic plates collide, they form convergent boundaries where subduction zones are created. What really is that? When two plates collide, the one that is heavier simply slides below the lighter plate. The one that goes down will then melt and convert into magma that is buoyant. The magma then rises up through the crust. This has happened over millions of years and is happening even now. This is what has created the volcanic arc – a string of volcanoes.
9. When tectonic plates are pulled apart by the tectonic forces, they create what are known as divergent boundaries. What really are those things? Well, what basically happens is that when the plates are pulled apart, rift valleys are created right on the sea floor. When this happens, the magma rises up, filling in the place and then gets cooled by the ocean water, thereby forming new crust. This too has happened (and is still happening now) for millions of years. The result is that the ocean bed has high ridges.
10. Then there are transform boundaries that are created when two tectonic plates slide along each other. Because the plates have irregular shape, they often get stuck with each other but the plates continue their movement. But because the plates are massive and have immense force, the rocks will either slip or break. The areas where slippage or breakage take place are called faults. When the rocks slip or break, they will lurch forward all of a sudden and cause earthquakes.
Because magma is involved, which continuously rises from underneath, forming volcanoes and ridges, the area is called Ring of Fire. Of course, the fiery lava that is split out by the active volcanoes in the ring is also responsible for the name.
Pacific Ring of Fire Facts: 11-15 | Why earthquakes are common in Ring of Fire?
11. Why are earthquakes so common along the Ring of Fire? The answer to this question lies in transform boundaries described in #10.
12. Most of the fault lines that are present on this planet are present in the Ring of Fire itself.
13. Since tectonic plates are constantly floating around on mantle, formation of transform boundaries in the Ring of Fire is pretty common that causes earthquakes frequently.
14. One of the most active faults that are present in the Ring of Fire is the San Andreas fault. This plate lies between northward moving Pacific plate and southward moving North American plate.
15. The San Andreas fault is 1,287 kilometers long and 16 kilometers deep and it cuts right through California’s western part.
Pacific Ring of Fire Facts: 16-20 | Countries in Ring of Fire, Its Shape
16. What are the countries that belong to the Pacific Ring of Fire? There are many actually! These countries include:
- United States of America
- Solomon Islands
- New Zealand
- Papa New Guinea
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
17. How big is the Pacific Ring of Fire? Well, it is quite big! It stretches over 40,000 kilometers or 25,000 miles.
18. If you try to look at the stretch of the Ring of Fire, you will notice that it start from South America’s southern tip and goes all the way up to North American coast and then goes through Aleutian Islands and then down through Japan and all the way to Philippines and then Indonesia before curving back into New Guinea to finally cover the islands of Southwest Pacific and eventually New Zealand.
19. Is Ring of Fire a complete ring? No, not really. The most widely accepted region is the one that we just mentioned in #18. It is of the shape of a horseshoe.
20. Despite the fact that the Pacific Ring of Fire is not really considered as a closed ring, if we actually consider the dormant and active volcanoes in Antarctica, we will get a closed ring.