Ring of Fire Current Affairs - 2019
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Central Indonesia’s Mount Soputan volcano erupted on 16th December 2018, sending ash about 7.5 km high in the sky. Mount Soputan erupted twice on the same day, forcing local residents to move to safer places. Mount Soputan volcano is one of the most active volcanoes of Indonesia. it is located on the Sulawesi island in Indonesia.
Indonesia has around 129 active volcanoes and Mount Soputan is one of 1them. The country of Indonesia is an archipelago which is highly prone to earthquakes and volcanoes as it is located on the “the Pacific Ring of Fire”. The most active volcanoes of Indonesia are Kelud and Merapi. Both these volcanoes are located on the Java island of Indonesia and have claimed the lives of many people in the region.
About the Pacific Ring of Fire
The Ring of Fire is a major area in the Pacific Ocean, approx 25000 miles, where about 75% of the world’s volcanoes are located. The Ring-of-Fire is also called as the Circum-Pacific Belt. Many major and minor tectonic plates such as the Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca, Antarctic, Indian, Australian, Philippine, and other smaller plates meet at the Ring of Fire. The movement of these tectonic plates leads to volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and formation of deep trenches in the ocean. The Mariana trench which is the deepest ocean trench is also located in the Ring-of-Fire.
Researchers from US-based Rice University have found new tectonic mircoplate off Ecuador’s coast in the eastern Pacific Ocean. It has been named Malpelo plate, after a Colombian island and an oceanic ridge it contains.
It is overall 57th tectonic mircoplate to be discovered so far and the first in nearly a decade. Microplates are tectonic plates with an area less than 1 million km2.
Malpelo microplate is located west of the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. It is wedged in-between the Nazca, Cocos, and Caribbean minor plates. It is linked to a nearby oceanic ridge along the Ring of Fire.
Earlier it was that assumed most of the region east of the known Panama transform fault was part of the Nazca plate. But recent study showed that it is different tectonic plate moving independently in a different direction.
Evidence for the Malpelo plate came with the researchers’ identification of a diffuse plate boundary that runs from the Panama Transform Fault eastward to where it intersects a deep oceanic trench just offshore of Ecuador and Colombia.
A tectonic plate is essentially a part-crust, part-mantle that is pushed around by the convecting currents of superheated rock (magma) beneath them. There are total eight major tectonic plates (with an area greater than 20 million km2), ten minor tectonic plates (area between 1 and 20 million km2). Interactions at the edges of moving plates account for most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on the Earth.