UN agency: Volcanic eruptions and quakes in PH, Indonesia, Japan, U.S. show Pacific Ring of Fire is active

January 24, 2018 - 2:23 PM
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The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reductiontweeted this image on Tuesday to show the link among the volcanic eruptions and earthquakes in the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States.

MANILA, Philippines — Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes spanning four countries in two continents on Tuesday show that the Pacific Ring of Fire is active, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction said.

On Tuesday, the agency took to Twitter to pin on the map the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Java, Indonesia; the eruption of Mayon Volcano in Albay; the eruption of Kusatsu-Shirane volcano in Japan; and the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that prompted tsunami alerts in the United States’ West Coast and western Canada.

According to National Geographic, “The Ring of Fire is a string of volcanoes and sites of seismic activity, or earthquakes, around the edges of the Pacific Ocean.”

“Roughly 90 percent of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the ring is dotted with 75 percent of all active volcanoes on Earth,” it adds.

More accurately, the “ring” is a “40,000-kilometer horseshoe” made up of 452 volcanoes which stretch “from the southern tip of South America, up along the coast of North America, across the Bering Strait, down through Japan, and into New Zealand.”

National Geographic notes that most of the active volcanoes in the Pacific Ring of Fire are on its western edge, “from the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia, through the islands of Japan and Southeast Asia, to New Zealand.”

READ MORE: The Ring of Fire explained by National Geographic

As of the latest Mayon Volcano Bulletin from the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, five episodes of “intense but sporadic lava fountaining” reaching 500 to 600 meters high were already recorded between 8:54 a.m. on Tuesday and 3:57 a.m. Wednesday.

Lava flows and rockfall events also occurred, with Alert Level 4 remaining in effect.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported on Wednesday that 14,483 affected families are being served by the government inside 59 evacuation centers, while 1,395 other families are being served outside of these evacuation centers.

Eleven international flights and 45 domestic flights were also cancelled due to the activity of Mayon Volcano.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Indonesia, residents were injured and at least 130 buildings were damaged due to the earthquake that struck off Java.

In Japan, Reuters reported that one man was killed and at least 11 people were injured, “some critically, when rocks from an erupting volcano rained down on skiers at a mountain resort in central Japan on Tuesday and an avalanche soon after the eruption engulfed about a dozen skiers.”

The Japanese Meteorological Agency warned that further eruptions from Kusatsu-Shirane volcano were possible.

In the United States, a 7.9-magnitude quake struck in the Gulf of Alaska just past midnight on Tuesday, with Reuters reporting that officials had warned residents to be ready to evacuate coastal areas.

By early morning, however, “the U.S. National Weather Service had lifted all tsunami advisories, watches and warnings for California, Oregon Washington, and Alaska. Canadian officials lifted one for coastal British Colombia,” Reuters reported.