What is the Ring of Fire?

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Taiwan is prone to earthquakes as it lies along the Pacific “Ring of Fire” — where 90% of the world’s earthquakes take place.

About Ring of Fire

  • It is a string of hundreds of volcanoes and earthquake-sites which runs along the Pacific Ocean. It is a semicircle or horse shoe in shape and stretches nearly 40,250 kilometres.
  • It traces the meeting points of numerous tectonic plates, including the Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca, Antarctic, Indian, Australian, Philippine, and other smaller plates, which all encircle the large Pacific Plate.
  • It runs through 15 more countries including the USA, Indonesia, Mexico, Japan, Canada, Guatemala, Russia, Chile, Peru, and the Philippines.
  • Why is it more prone to earthquakes?
    • It witnesses so many earthquakes due to constant sliding past, colliding into, or moving above or below each other of the tectonic plates. As the edges of these plates are quite rough, they get stuck with one another while the rest of the plate keeps moving.
    • An earthquake occurs when the plate has moved far enough and the edges unstick on one of the faults.
  • There are many volcanoes in the Ring of Fire due to the movement of tectonic plates. Many of the volcanoes have been formed through a process known as subduction.
  • It takes place when two plates collide with each other and the heavier plate is shoved under another, creating a deep trench.

Most of the subduction zones on the planet are located in the Ring of Fire and that’s why it hosts a large number of volcanoes.

Q1: What is a subduction zone?

It is a spot where two of the planet's tectonic plates collide and one dives, or subducts, beneath the other. Tectonic plates are pieces of the Earth's rigid outer layer that slowly move across the planet's surface over millions of years.

Source: Massive earthquake hits Taiwan: What is the Ring of Fire?