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Preliminary   > Geography   >   Geomorphology   >   Geomorphology

Why in news?

  • Around 13,000 people have been evacuated from the northeast Philippines as Mayon continued to burst lava.

About Mayon Volcano:

  • Mayon Volcano is an active volcano in southeastern Luzon, Philippines.
  • It is called the world’s most perfect volcanic cone because of the symmetry of its shape.
  • It lies in the Pacific Ring of Fire region, a major area in the basin of the Pacific Ocean where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

About Pacific ‘Ring of Fire’:

  • The Ring of Fire, also referred to as the Circum-Pacific Belt, is a path along the Pacific Ocean characterized by active volcanoes and frequent earthquakes.
  • Its length is approximately 40,000 kilometers.
  • It traces boundaries between several tectonic plates—including the Pacific, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Indian-Australian, Nazca, North American, and Philippine Plates.
  • Seventy-five percent of Earth’s volcanoes—more than 450 volcanoes—are located along the Ring of Fire.
    • Major volcanic events that have occurred within the Ring of Fire since 1800 include the eruptions of Mount Tambora, Indonesia (1815), Mount Ruiz, Columbia (1985), and Mount Pinatubo, Philippines (1991).
    • Western edge of the ring of fire has most of the active volcanoes. Some of the active volcanoes are:  Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand, Krakatau Island Volcano in Indonesia, Mount Fuji of Japan etc.
  • Ninety percent of Earth’s earthquakes occur along its path, including the planet’s most violent and dramatic seismic events.
    • Examples: Chile earthquake of 1960 and 2010, the Alaska earthquake of 1964, and the Japan earthquake of 2011 as well as the earthquake that produced the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.
  • The ring of fire is home to the deepest ocean trench, called the Mariana Trench. It is a 7-mile-deep trench.
    • Other trenches in the region are: Philippine Trench, Challenger trench, Kuril- Kamchatka Trench, Peru–Chile Trench and Tonga Trench.


Why abundance of volcanoes and earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire?

  • The Ring of Fire is the result of tectonic plates which are huge slabs of the Earth’s crust, fitting together like pieces of a puzzle.
    • Sometimes these moving plates collide, or move apart, or slide next to each other, which lead to the formation of convergent, divergent or transform boundaries (respectively).
  • This constant collision, diversion or sliding-past-each-other movement of tectonic plates results in deep ocean trenches, volcanic eruptions, and earthquake epicenters along the boundaries where the plates meet, called fault lines.
  • Volcanoes are created through the process of subduction and most of the planet's subduction zones happen to be located in the Ring of Fire.
  • A significant exception is the border between the Pacific and North American Plates.
    • This stretch of the Ring of Fire is a transform boundary, where plates move sideways past one another.
    • This type of boundary generates a large number of earthquakes as tension in Earth’s crust builds up and is released.

Add ons:

  • World’s largest geothermal energy resources (more than 40%) are stored in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
  • Geothermal resources are highly associated with the active plate boundary (divergent or convergent plate type) where volcanism or frequent earthquakes have occurred.
  • Roughly estimated more than 110 GW electricity generation capabilities of geothermal resources can be found in this region.


Which of the following volcanoes are found along Pacific Ring of Fire?

1. Mount Ruapehu

2. Krakatau Island Volcano

3. Mount Fuji

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1,2 and 3