Lithospheric Hazard: Volcanoes -- Erin Munoz
Holocene Volcanoes in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Russia
This map layer uses data from the Smithsonian Institution, and displays locations of
active volcanoes during the Holocene Epoch, or the past 10,000 years (“Global Holocene
Volcanoes”). A volcano is a crack or opening in the earth’s crust which allows molten rock from
underneath to reach the surface (“Volcanoes”). When they erupt, they release lava, gas, ash, and
rocks. This extremely hot mixture can be destructive and ruinous. Volcanoes will form at the
edges of earth’s tectonic plates. When the plates collide together or get pulled apart, a volcano
can form. They can also form where crust is thin, in areas called hot spots. The Kamchatka
peninsula in Russia holds over 300 volcanoes and holds the world’s highest concentration of
active volcanoes. There are currently 29 active volcanoes in Russia. The peninsula lays above a
subduction zone, or a convergent boundary where plates overlap. Most of the volcanoes in
Russia are a part of the Ring of Fire, while others were formed from hot spots (“Volcanoes of
Russia”). The volcanoes form a vertical belt line from the south to the tip of the north. In the
past 10,000 years, there have been about 30 extremely large eruptions in Kamchatka. These
eruptions have ejected more than 1 cubic kilometer of magma. Due to this, Kamchatka holds a
record as the place on earth with the greatest frequency of explosive eruptions (“Volcanoes of
Holocene Volcanoes Between Japan and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky
Japan’s volcanoes are also a part of the Ring of Fire. Japan has over 100 active volcanoes
and accounts for 10% of the world’s volcanoes (“Volcanoes of Japan”). Japan is located near
four major tectonic plates and its volcanoes lay on five subduction-zone related volcanic arcs.
The country is known for having intense volcanic activity, and is one of the places most affected
by destructive volcanoes. If living near a volcano, it is important to keep emergency goggles and
masks nearby, as well as a flashlight and radio. An eruptive volcano indicates that nearby
residents should avoid driving, close all windows if staying indoors, and wear protective clothing
and eyewear if going out.
Global Distribution of Holocene Volcanoes
This map displays all volcanoes distributed globally. The Ring of Fire, also called the
Circum-Pacific Belt, can be clearly seen as a long path surrounding the Pacific Ocean. The Ring
of Fire is approximately 40,000 kilometers and traces boundaries between many tectonic plates.
These plates include the Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca,
Antarctic, Indian, Australian, Philippine, and smaller plates that all encompass the large Pacific
Plate. About 75% of Earth’s volcanoes are located here. Volcanoes have formed here due to the
movement of tectonic plates in this path, and the ring is where most of earth’s subduction zones
are. In these zones, a plate of oceanic lithosphere is pushed down by another plate above it
(“What is the Ring of Fire?”). The constant movement of these plates result in oceanic trenches,
earthquake epicenters, and volcanic eruptions. The melting of these tectonic plates is what
produces magma. While researchers understand this, the actual source of heat comes from
something deeper than the plates and is unknown (“Can Volcanoes Form Just Anywhere?”).
Many of the active volcanoes here are located below water.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Ring of Fire.” Encyclopædia Britannica,
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 31 Jan. 2019, www.britannica.com/place/Ring-of-Fire.
National Geographic Society. “Ring of Fire.” National Geographic Society, 4 Apr. 2019,
National Geographic Society. “Volcanoes.” National Geographic Society, 9 Nov. 2012,
Oskin, Becky. “Fearsome Foursome of Eruptions Seen from Space.” LiveScience, Purch, 21 Jan.
US Department of Commerce, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “What Is
the Ring of Fine?” What Is the Ring of Fire?, 21 Oct. 2013,
“Volcanoes of Japan: Facts & Information / VolcanoDiscovery.” VolcanoDiscovery,
“Volcanoes of Kamchatka: Main Page.” VolcanoDiscovery,
“Volcanoes of Russia - Information / VolcanoDiscovery.” VolcanoDiscovery,
“Volcano Safety Tips, Preparation, and Readiness.” , Preparation, and Readiness, 13 Feb. 2017,
“Volcano World.” Can Volcanoes Form Just Anywhere? Why Do They Form Where They Do? |
Volcano World | Oregon State University,
“Volcano World.” What Is the "Ring of Fire?" | Volcano World | Oregon State University,