Pacific ring of fire
Pacific ring of fire

Two powerful earthquakes - each of which rated more than 8.0 on the Richter scale - struck off the coast of Indonesia's Aceh province. The country, a Southeast Asian nation, itself is one of those located on the dreaded "Pacific Ring of Fire" and is therefore more prone to earthquakes and similar geologic phenomenon.

What, however, is the "Ring of Fire"?

The name sounds rather deadly and, in point of fact, it is. Areas that fall within this "ring" are in constant danger of volcanoes and earthquakes. In fact, the area has seen more than 81 percent of the world's deadliest earthquakes and late in the evening of 11 April, it lived up to its name once more.

Check out a few key facts about the "Ring of Fire"

  • Apparently this huge ring of volcanic and seismic (earthquake) activity was identified and described even before the invention of plate tectonics theory. Its seismic activities results from collisions between the plates.
  • This horse-shoe shaped ring is about 40,000km long and runs from Chile, northwards along the South American coast through Central America, Mexico, the west coast of the US and the southern part of Alaska, through the Aleutian Islands, the Philippines and Indonesia before curving back to New Guinea, the southwest Pacific islands and New Zealand.
  • Indonesia is one of the places in the world which experiences a quake quite often. As the world's largest archipelago sits directly on the ring - along the north-eastern islands adjacent to New Guinea - this place is one of the worst affected regions.
  • The ring has more than 90 percent of the world's 1,500 active volcanoes, according toa Reuters report. Indonesia has the largest number of historically active volcanoes, according to theUS Geological Survey (USGS).
  • The country's location on the edges of the Pacific, Eurasian and Australian tectonic plates makes it extremely vulnerable to quakes and volcanoes. Strangely, the country also seems to have become accustomed to natural disasters, considering they have become part of their daily lives.

"While the fact that these happened so close to each other has shocked a lot of people abroad, in Indonesia, another natural disaster happening, it's really part of...daily life here," said Aubrey Belford, who was reporting on the disasters for the International Herald Tribune.