The Pacific Rim is often called the “Ring of Fire” due to the large number of volcanic eruptions that occur along its plate boundaries. Volcanic eruptions are the greatest single cause of natural hazard induced deaths in the Pacific, having caused over 3500 fatalities in the last 100 years.

What is a Volcano?

A volcano is a mountain formed by erupted lava, rock fragments and ash. Volcanic eruptions occur when magma (molten rock) from inside the Earth rises to the surface along plate boundaries or at weak points within the plates called hotspots. There are many different types of volcanoes associated with different eruption types.

Secondary Effects

Landslides on steep, unstable fl anks can have disastrous impacts. For example during the 1985 eruption in Colombia 23,000 people were killed by a fast moving mudflow of ash and water.

Tsunamis can be triggered by violent submarine eruptions or major volcanic landslides entering the sea.

Earthquakes can be caused by the intrusion or release of magma.

Fires can be caused by hot ash, bombs or lava.

World’s climate is affected by the gases and particles forced high into the atmosphere during eruptions.