Ring of Fire

If you marked every active volcano in the world on a map, you'd start to notice a pattern. Most of the world's active volcanoes are on the edges of the tectonic plates that make up the Earth's crust. You might also notice a large chain of volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean. This circle, called the Ring of Fire, follows the edge of the Pacific Plate. More than half of the world's named volcanoes occur around the Ring of Fire.

Definition: a large circle of explosive volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean
Claim to fame: site of most of the world's named volcanoes
Cause: subduction of the Pacific Plate under surrounding plates
Type of volcanoes: explosive
Famous volcanoes: Mount St. Helens in Washington State and Mount Fuji in Japan

Image credits: main image, courtesy of AMNH; Jim Webster: courtesy of AMNH.