March 6, 2007 / 11:48 AM / 13 years ago

FACTBOX-The Pacific's earthquake-prone "Ring of Fire"

March 6 (Reuters) - Indonesia, located on the Pacific "Ring of Fire", has the world's largest number of historically active volcanoes according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), making it prone to earthquakes and other volcanic disruptions.

Here are some key facts about the Ring of Fire:

WHAT IS IT?

-- The Ring of Fire is a horse-shoe shaped band of volcanoes and fault lines circling the edges of the Pacific Ocean.

-- Some 40,000 km (25,000 miles) long, it runs from Chile, northwards along the South American coast through Central America, Mexico, the west coast of the U.S. and the southern part of Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands to Japan, the Philippines and Indonesia before curving back to New Guinea, the southwest Pacific islands and New Zealand.

-- Its seismic activity results from collisions between tectonic plates.

KEY FIGURES:

-- Of the world's 1,500 active volcanos, almost 90 percent are in the Ring of Fire.

-- Ninety percent of the world's earthquakes and 81 percent of the world's largest earthquakes occur within it.

RECENT ACTIVITY:

-- May 27, 2006, INDONESIA: A 6.3 magnitude earthquake hits Yogyakarta in Java, killing at least 5,700 people.

-- June 10, PHILIPPINES: Bulusan volcano explodes, sending ash and steam 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) into the air and showering surrounding villages.

-- June 12, JAPAN: Vulcanologists warn of more eruptions at Mount Sakurajima, on Kyushu island southwest of Tokyo, after it spews volcanic gases.

-- July 17, INDONESIA: Over 550 people are killed in Java, after an undersea earthquake creates a tsunami.

-- July 17, ECUADOR: Tungurahua volcano, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Quito, rains molten rock and covers villages in ash, months after it became active in May.

-- July 18, PHILIPPINES: Authorities order 4,000 people to evacuate after Mount Mayon begins erupting on July 14.

-- July 19, INDONESIA: Office workers in the capital Jakarta flee after a 6.0 magnitude tremor causes tall buildings to sway.

Sources: Reuters, USGS, (here esia_volcanics.html) ((Writing by Gill Murdoch, Singapore Editorial Reference Unit, gill.murdoch@reuters.com, Reuters Messaging gill.murdoch.reuters.com@reuters.net; +65 6870 3922))

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