The Ring of Fire is a string of volcanoes and earthquake sites all along the edges of the Pacific Ocean. About 9 out of 10 earthquakes happen on the Ring of Fire. Three-fourths of all active volcanoes on Earth are along the ring. 

 

The Ring of Fire is shaped like an approximately 40,000 kilometers (25,000-mile) horseshoe. It contains 452 volcanoes. The ring stretches from the southern tip of South America, up along the coast of North America, over to eastern Russia, down through Japan and into New Zealand. A group of volcanoes in Antarctica close the ring.


Plate Boundaries?

 

The top layer of Earth is called the crust. The crust is split into huge slabs called tectonic plates, which are as large as continents. The plates are always moving, but they move very slowly. Sometimes they crash together, move apart or slide next to each other. The boundaries, or edges, of these plates form the Ring of Fire.


Convergent Boundaries

 

There are three types of plate boundaries. A convergent boundary is formed by tectonic plates crashing into each other. At these boundaries, the heavier plate can slip under the lighter plate. The rock underneath gets so hot that it melts. The liquid rock is called magma. The liquid rock rises through gaps in the crust over millions of years. When it reaches the Earth's surface, the magma creates volcanoes.


Divergent Boundaries

 

divergent boundary is formed when tectonic plates pull apart from each other. The old crust pulls itself in opposite directions and liquid rock comes up from below. Then, cold seawater cools the rock. The new solid rock forms new crust. 


Transform Boundaries

 

transform boundary is formed when tectonic plates slide past each other. Parts of these plates break or slip as they rub against each other. The plates push forward and cause earthquakes. The gaps between these plates are called faults. Most of Earth's faults can be found along transform boundaries in the Ring of Fire.  

 

The San Andreas Fault is one of the busiest faults on the Ring of Fire. It lies on the transform boundary between the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate. Measuring about 1,287 kilometers (800 miles) long and 16 kilometers (10 miles) deep, the fault cuts through California.


Hot Spots

 

The Ring of Fire is also home to hot spots. These are areas deep inside Earth. As heat rises from a hot spot, it melts the rock above it. The melted rock, or magma, often pushes through cracks in the crust to form volcanoes.  


Active Volcanoes In The Ring Of Fire

 

Most of the active volcanoes on the Ring of Fire are found on its western edge. Krakatoa is an island volcano in Indonesia. The country of Indonesia is a group of islands between South Asia and Australia. Under Krakatoa, the denser Australian Plate is slipping beneath the Eurasian Plate. 

 

Mount Fuji is Japan's tallest and most famous mountain. It is also a volcano. Mount Fuji sits at a "triple junction," where three tectonic plates come together. 

 

The Ring of Fire's eastern half also has active volcanoes. Mount St. Helens is in the U.S. state of Washington. It lies on a weak section of crust. That makes it more likely to erupt

 

Popocatépetl is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the Ring of Fire. The mountain is one of Mexico's busiest volcanoes. It has erupted 15 times since 1519.

 

Plate Tectonics and the Ring of Fire
Geologic features along the Ring of Fire include not only volcanoes, but ocean trenches, mountain trenches, hydrothermal vents, and sites of earthquake activity.
accompany
Verb

to join with someone or something.

active volcano
Noun

volcano that has had a recorded eruption since the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago.

Anak Krakatau
Noun

active volcanic island on the site of the former island of Krakatoa in the Sunda Strait in Indonesia.

Andes Mountains
Noun

mountain range extending along the western coast of South America.

Bering Strait
Noun

narrow body of water connecting the Bering Sea and the Arctic Ocean, separating the continents of North America and Asia.

brittle
Adjective

fragile or easily broken.

buoyant
Adjective

capable of floating.

Cascade Range
Noun

mountains extending along the northwest coast of North America.

city
Noun

large settlement with a high population density.

Noun

edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

collide
Verb

to crash into.

consider
Verb

to think about.

consistent
Adjective

maintaining a steady, reliable quality.

Noun

one of the seven main land masses on Earth.

convergent plate boundary
Noun

area where two or more tectonic plates bump into each other. Also called a collision zone.

correspond
Verb

to match or be similar to.

Noun

rocky outermost layer of Earth or other planet.

dense
Adjective

having parts or molecules that are packed closely together.

destructive
Adjective

harmful.

divergent boundary
Noun

area where two or more tectonic plates are moving away from each other. Also called an extensional boundary.

dormant volcano
Noun

volcano that has erupted in the past but is unlikely to erupt soon.

earthquake
Noun

the sudden shaking of Earth's crust caused by the release of energy along fault lines or from volcanic activity.

East Pacific Rise
Noun

mid-ocean ridge where several tectonic plates are moving apart from one another.

erupt
Verb

to explode or suddenly eject material.

eruption
Noun

release of material from an opening in the Earth's crust.

facilitate
Verb

to help or make easier.

fault
Noun

a crack in the Earth's crust where there has been movement.

geologic
Adjective

having to do with the physical formations of the Earth.

geologist
Noun

person who studies the physical formations of the Earth.

Noun

mass of ice that moves slowly over land.

horizontal
Adjective

left-right direction or parallel to the Earth and the horizon.

horseshoe
Noun

C-shaped thick metal sheet nailed to a horse's foot to protect it from damaging surfaces.

Noun

intensely hot region deep within the Earth that rises to just underneath the surface. Some hot spots produce volcanoes.

infamous
Adjective

having a very bad reputation.

interaction
Noun

relationship between two or more forces, objects, or organisms.

Noun

body of land surrounded by water.

Krakatoa
Noun

island in Indonesia, site of major volcanic eruption in 1883. Also called Krakatau.

lava lake
Noun

lava pooled in the center of a volcano's caldera or crater.

lurch
Verb

to suddenly stagger or sway.

Noun

molten, or partially melted, rock beneath the Earth's surface.

Noun

middle layer of the Earth, made of mostly solid rock.

molten
Adjective

solid material turned to liquid by heat.

mountain range
Noun

series or chain of mountains that are close together.

parallel
Adjective

equal distance apart, and never meeting.

Noun

piece of land jutting into a body of water.

Noun

movement and interaction of the Earth's plates.

prone
Adjective

vulnerable or tending to act in a certain way.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

resident
Noun

person who lives in a specific place.

Noun

depression in the ground caused by the Earth's crust spreading apart.

Noun

horseshoe-shaped string of volcanoes and earthquake sites around edges of the Pacific Ocean.

rock
Noun

natural substance composed of solid mineral matter.

Noun

rift in underwater mountain range where new oceanic crust is formed.

seawater
Noun

salty water from an ocean or sea.

seismic
Adjective

having to do with earthquakes.

spectacular
Adjective

dramatic and impressive.

stress
Verb

to strain or put pressure on.

subduct
Verb

to pull downward or beneath something.

subduction zone
Noun

area where one tectonic plate slides under another.

summit
Noun

highest point of a mountain.

tectonic plate
Noun

massive slab of solid rock made up of Earth's lithosphere (crust and upper mantle). Also called lithospheric plate.

threaten
Verb

to scare or be a source of danger.

transform boundary
Noun

site of tectonic plates sliding next to each other in opposite directions. Also called a transform fault.

trench
Noun

long, deep depression, either natural or man-made.

triple junction
Noun

region where the boundaries of three tectonic plates meet and interact.

Noun

developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs.

volcanic arc
Noun

chain of volcanoes formed at a subduction zone.

Noun

fragments of lava less than 2 millimeters across.

volcanic gas
Noun

gas such as water vapor or carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere by a volcano.

Noun

an opening in the Earth's crust, through which lava, ash, and gases erupt, and also the cone built by eruptions.

well up
Verb

to swell or build up.