The Pacific Ring of Fire

With all the natural disasters currently hammering the pacific, events that rooted from the movements of energy and rocks underneath, which resulted to deadly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, it's almost certain to conclude that the Ring of Fire becomes so aggressive recently.

In 2019 and, now, in early 2020, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions frequently occurred within the Pacific rim which means that the Western edge of the Ring of Fire, where active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters can be traced, constantly moved. 

Could this mean something? A bad omen of what worst to come?

Not so fast. Until we understand the seismic and volcanic activities within the Ring of Fire. This is not to cause panic but somehow to provide awareness. We need to know what is going on with the earth's crust to have proper understanding why and how this natural phenomenon occurred.

What is the Ring of Fire?

According to National Geographic, Ring of Fire is a path in the Pacific Ocean basin where most active volcanoes and earthquake epicenters are located. It is also known as Circum- Pacific Belt and formed like a horseshoe shape. It covers 25,000 miles of chain of volcanoes, seismic sites and tectonic plates boundaries in the Pacific Ocean. 

Ring of fire traces the meeting points of many tectonic plates, called fault lines, in the South and North American plates down to the Pacific plates of New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. When plates slide, collide and move past each other, it triggers the fault lines to move which resulted to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. About 90% of deadly earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occurred in the Ring of Fire.

How Did the Ring of Fire Form?

It is the result of tectonic plates, formed as oceanic plates that slid past under continental plates. When tectonic plates slide, move and collide with smaller rocks, energy releases to the earth's surface.

Tectonic plates are massive slab of the earth crusts that constantly move, collide and push with molten rock called mantle. 

Why Volcanic Eruption Occurred?

When tectonic plates boundaries, called subduction zones, collide, crash and slide past the molten rock, it  creates deep trenches which change the mantle into magma. It then rises into the earth's crust surface in the form of ash or lava.

This process triggers volcanic activities, either violent and explosive (plinian) or steam-blast eruption, also known as phreatic (steam produced with the contact of ground water and hot magma). Once the lava cools down, it forms a new crust.

How Earthquake is Triggered?

According to a CNN report, earthquakes form like a heat underneath the earth's surface. It represents the energy release from the interior of the earth. The heat causes the plates to move and when it collides with another plate, it produces friction which triggers an energy underneath to build up. When energy releases its force, it triggers an earthquake.

Seismologists don't have the capacity yet to predict when volcano or earthquake strikes along the Ring of Fire. There are indication or conditions like hydraulic fracturing and drilling activities, but the accurate prediction cannot be determined. When or where it strikes or how massive the impact is, cannot still be established.

Is it a Bad Omen?

When natural disasters occurred it's easy to believe that someone somewhere is spreading wrath to punish us, or we might think God seems angry towards us and we're being chastised. Whatever beyond this disaster, let's believe that it's a natural phenomenon triggered by movements of rocks and plates beneath the earth.

The rocks and plate move, collide past each other, changing the feature of molten rock and earth crusts. As everything down there becomes hot and compressed, it triggers seismic activities and volcanic eruptions. So let's not think of anything but just a phenomenon beneath the earth.

Mount Tambora, Indonesia

The deadliest volcanic eruption in human history is Mount Tambora on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia. The violent climax of its eruption happened on April 10, 1815 which killed roughly 100,000 people.

Tambora, the deadliest volcanic eruption recorded in history

The eruption changed the map of Indonesia and the climate of the world according to reports. It wiped off the entire island and the surrounding land became infertile. There was widespread crop failure, illness and starvation. And it caused global weather changes.

According to Gillen D'Arcy Wood, author of Tambora: The Eruption That Changed The World,  "What happened after Tambora is that there was three years of climate change, the world got colder and the weather systems changed completely".


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