Deadly earthquakes with magnitude 6 and above hits 16 countries in two weeks on Ring of Fire in Pacific
Earthquakes around the Ring of Fire - horse shoe like area of the Pacific with a string of volcanos and sites of seismic activity - are increasing in the Pacific Ocean.
Almost 90 percent of all earthquakes are seen along the Ring of Fire and the ring is dotted with 75 percent of all active volcanoes from around the world.
A transform boundary is created when tectonic plates slide horizontally past each other, as parts of these plates get jammed with contact pressure they build up and cause natural disasters.
This stress pushes the rock to crash or slid, abruptly shaking the plate's frontal area and leads to earthquakes. These breakage or slippage areas are identified as fault lines. The majority of world's fault lines can be seen throughout transform boundaries in the Ring of Fire.
The Ring of Fire is also known as the circum-Pacific belt.
Between April 1 and April 16, 16 earthquakes, with magnitudes of 6 or higher, have struck the Pacific belt.
The country's vice president announced that the death toll had reached at least 233 and injured more than 1,500 others.
A state of emergency was declared in the six worst-hit provinces.
Japan is an area of high seismic movement due to its close location to three major tectonic plate boundaries. It is settled on a volcanic zone in the Pacific Ring of Fire
On April 15, a quake with a magnitude of 7.0 hit Kumamoto City in Japan and killed at least 25 people.
On April 14 a magnitude of 6.2 earthquake struck Japan 7 km (4.3 mi) southwest of Ueki, Kumamoto Prefecture and in the same day another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 also hit Japan 5 km (3.1 mi) east of Uto, Kumamoto Prefecture, leaving nine people dead.
More than 140 aftershocks were registered within two days.
Scores of people were feared to be buried alive following the quakes.
A magnitude of 6.0 earthquake hit off the shore of Japan, 56 km (35 mi) southeast of Shingu, Wakayama Prefecture on April 1.
A magnitude 9 quake also hit in March 2011, north of Tokyo, and triggered a massive tsunami and nuclear meltdown at Fukushima. Nearly 20,000 people were killed in the tsunami.
The quake hit 277 km (172.12 miles) south-southeast of the capital Nuku'alofa at a depth of 66 km, the US Geological Survey said.
The part of the South Pacific Ocean where Tonga lies is settled in one of the most seismically active areas between Australia and Pacific plates.
A magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit Guatemala 105 km (65 mi) south-southwest of Champerico on April 15 at a depth of 25.0 km.
There were no immediate reports of damages or casualties reported by authorities following the quake.
Vanuatu sits on the Ring of Fire where earthquakes are common. The island is also inclined to volcanoes and cyclones.
A magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Vanuatu Island on April 14 at a depth of 16.0 km (9.9 mi). The quake had a maximum intensity of VI (Strong).
On the same day, another earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 hit Vanuatu, 86 km (53 mi) northwest of Port-Olry on April 14 at a depth of 10.0 km (6.2 mi).
The Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre announced that there were no tsunami threats at the time.
More than 180,000 residents were thought to have felt some form of vibration or tremor.
Respectively, on April 7, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Vanuatu, 106 km (66 mi) west of Sola, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake also struck the island, 105 km (65 mi) west southwest of Sola on April 6 and the first quake occurred on April 3 with a magnitude 6.9 that struck Vanuatu, 81 km (50 mi) north northwest of Port-Olry. The shock had a maximum volume of VII (Very strong).
There were no damages or casualties reported following the earthquakes.
A magnitude 6.2 temblor occurred in the US, 100 km (62 mi) northeast of Chignik Lake, Alaska on April 2.
The earthquake was felt in Dillingham, Alaska, the Alaska centre said.
There were no reports of injuries or damages.
Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea is geologically located on the Pacific Ring of Fire.
On April 1, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit Papua New Guinea, 123 km (76 mi) northeast of Angoram.
On April 6, a magnitude 6.0 quake struck offshore of Indonesia, 68 km (42 mi) south-southwest of Bunisari.
There were no damages or casualties reported and no tsunami warnings were issued.
On April 13, a magnitude 6.9 temblor occurred in Myanmar, 74 km (46 mi) southeast of Mawlaik.
The shock had a maximum volume of VI (Strong).
After the quake, 2 people were killed and 70 others were injured in Assam, India. Fifty people were also wounded in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Author: Hamza Bayrak