Bali earthquake latest: What makes the Ring of Fire so deadly? — Информационное Агентство "365 дней"

Bali earthquake latest: What makes the Ring of Fire so deadly?

Ring of Fire

Popular tourist destinations Bali and Lombok were shaken by a huge magnitude-6.9 earthquake on Sunday, August 5, followed by hundreds of strong aftershocks. 

More than 130 aftershocks have been recorded since the quake hit on Sunday morning.

Buildings crumbled, cracks emerged in the earth and thousands fled to safety as tsunami warnings were issued. 

The death toll from the catastrophic quake stands at 142, with dozens more missing. 

Earthquakes are nothing new for Indonesia, as it lies on the explosive Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean. 

The Ring of Fire is home to around 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes, and 81 percent of the largest earthquakes in the world. 

Professor Bill McGuire, Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences at University College London revealed to Express.co.uk the explosive nature of the Ring of Fire.

He said: “The Ring of Fire is a girdle of volcanoes and earthquake zones that circles the Pacific Ocean, and which marks the join between some of the planet’s most active tectonic plates. 


Almost all the of the world’s most explosive and dangerous volcanoes are located here, along with the some of the longest and most deadly earthquake faults.

Professor Bill McGuire

“Almost all the of the world’s most explosive and dangerous volcanoes are located here, along with the some of the longest and most deadly earthquake faults. 

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“Many of the biggest faults in the Ring of Fire are submarine so that their rupture can trigger catastrophic tsunamis, such as those that struck Indonesia and the Indian Ocean in 2004 and Japan in 2011.”

A tsunami alert was issued for Lombok following the August 5 earthquake, however, fortunately, waves did not reach anywhere near high enough for concern. 

But could earthquakes like that of Indonesia’s be predicted and therefore braced for? 

Professor McGuire revealed that while forecasts can be made, the exact intensity and timing of an earthquake cannot be predicted.

He also told Express.co.uk: “We can’t predict earthquakes, in the sense of saying — ‘there will be a magnitude 7 quake on this fault in two months time’ — and may never be able to. 

“We can, however, make forecasts for earthquakes based upon past activity. 

“For example, if a particular fault has ruptured — on average — every fifty years, triggering a quake, and it is 55 years since the last one, we can say that there is a high probability that another quake will occur in the next few years.”

Scientists can, however, predict the likeliness of which areas will experience earthquakes.

Ring of Fire

Damage in Bali

Professor McGuire said: “At present, there are a number of places where major earthquakes are likely in coming years.

“Close to the city of Padang, on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and — most worryingly — near Tokyo. 

“Here, the probability of a major quake in the next few decades is estimated to be as high as 70 percent.”

However, the ring of fire itself does not go through cycles or periods of heightened activity. 

He added: “Individual faults will rupture — and volcanoes erupt — according to their own timetables, but there is no cycle of activity for the ring as a whole.”

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