The Pacific Ring of Fire is a deadly part of the Pacific Ocean that is an area known for its strings of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity, or earthquakes. It stretches around the Pacific from New Zealand and goes around the east coast of Asia, Canada, USA, and then all the way to the South. It’s believed that 90% of earthquakes happen around this area. The area is above tectonic plates that constantly move, and countries affected include the Philippines, Mexico, Japan, and Taiwan among others. In recent news, at least three volcanoes are on the verge of erupting. The worst one predicted to be Mount Agung in Bali, where there has been a hundred volcanic earthquakes detected in a single day.
Be in the know: here are 8 of the strongest earthquakes in the past few weeks that have occurred in the Pacific Ring of Fire.
A magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit 46 miles west of Padang, Indonesia last August 31. The epicenter of the quake was along the Indo-Australia and Sunda Plates where the fault line results in an area of intense seismic and volcanic activity. The quake was felt as far away as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur which is 320 miles away from the epicenter.
The most powerful quake in Mexico in a century struck with an 8.1 magnitude last September 8. The epicenter was reported to have been at the Pacific Ocean 600 miles southeast of the capital and 74 miles off the coast. More than 60 people have reportedly died as the quake was felt by 50 million people across the country.
On September 19, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake hit Central Mexico. The death toll reached more than 200 throughout the day and multiple rescue operations are being held in various places. Videos of the earthquake spread online where we can see buildings violently shaking and high rises swaying sickeningly. Schools collapsed trapping children and adults and killing at least 20 in one. This quake happened on the anniversary of a magnitude 8.0 1985 quake that killed thousands in the same region.
The remote Southern Ocean located south of New Zealand was struck by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 on September 20. There were no casualties and no buildings were damaged. This was just a few hours after a powerful 7.1 earthquake struck Mexico City. A country residing on top of the Pacific and Australian plates, New Zealand is more prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
An earthquake with the magnitude 6.1 hit Japan last September 20. This is one day after a powerful quake along the Pacific Ring of Fire hit Mexico. The Japan quake struck 200 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant which is still recovering from the tsunami that a magnitude 9.0 earthquake brought in 2011. This time, fortunately, there wasn’t a tsunami.
The Vanuatu archipelago is located east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean and is in the Ring of Fire causing it to be more prone to earthquakes. Not more than 24 hours after the earthquake in Mexico, a magnitude 6.4 quake struck Erromango island on September 20. Erromango Island is the fourth largest island of the Vanuatu archipelago with a population of just under 2,000 people. Fortunately the quake did not pose a tsunami threat nor left casualties.
Matias Romero, Mexico
Aftershocks from the recent earthquakes in Mexico delivered a 6.1 magnitude on September 23. It struck 12 miles southeast of Matias Romero in the southern state of Oaxaca Mexico. Homes and structures that survived the previous earthquakes completely fell down and the death toll has reached up to 400 people.
Another recent scary quake that struck Japan is the magnitude 6.0 earthquake on September 27. It struck off the coast of the Iwate and Aomori prefectures with a depth of 30 kilometers. Like the earthquake before it, there were no reported injuries nor were there reports of a tsunami. The magnitude was later brought down to a 5.8 by the U.S. Geological Survey.
There’s no denying that powerful earthquakes proliferate our world. These things cannot be helped, perhaps it’s the wrath of Mother Nature or perhaps it really does signal the end of the world but there are ways to respond. One is to be smart about it and continue educating people on the right procedures during times of calamity. Another is to be always prepared: have emergency numbers ready, talk to your family about your evacuation plan, or have an emergency disaster kit ready. Be updated, check out the list of the latest earthquakes here and also know what you can do to help those in need.
How do you feel about these earthquakes? Tell us in the comments section below!