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Pacific Ring of Fire rumbles back into life

Newshub logoNewshub 14/02/2018 Newshub staff

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The Pacific Ring of Fire has rumbled back into life with a series of deadly disasters.

The 'Ring' is actually a horseshoe-shaped loop running from New Zealand to Chile. About 90 percent of the world's earthquakes happen in the Ring, where three-quarters of the world's active volcanoes are located.

In the Philippines, the Mayon Volcano erupted, leading to thousands of evacuees. In Japan, a volcano caused an avalanche, with one death.

In Indonesia, a 5.3 earthquake jolted Jakarta, while in Alaska, a 7.9 earthquake led to a tsunami alert.

The recent upswing in activity on the Ring of Fire is causing fears that a major and potentially disastrous volcanic eruption or earthquake could be about to hit New Zealand.

Fortunately, scientists say it's normal to have so much activity.

"In any given month, there is usually quite a bit going on, so it's fairly normal activity. The events are not spaced evenly through the year, like rainfall and other natural phenomena," a GeoNet spokesperson told Newshub.

"All this activity is 'linked' in the sense that it's the result of collisions between huge tectonic plates that are moving in all different directions at rates up to 50mm a year.

"They bump into each other with colossal forces causing heat and breaking of the earth's brittle crust."

And the geological monitoring agency says this overseas activity won't impact us.

"The Pacific Ring of Fire is always quite active," GeoNet seismologist John Ristau told Newshub. "It encompasses a very large area, therefore, statistically there will be regular activity somewhere around it at any given time.

"This activity will not have any impact on seismic activity in New Zealand. Of course, there can be a major earthquake at any time in New Zealand - we have no way of knowing."

In pictures: The most active volcanoes around the world

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