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Deep Sea Dive: Ring of Fire

3 minutes

(Describer) Under a round logo of a wave, title: Ocean Today.

(Describer) Underwater...

(male narrator) Orange and red flashes in the pitch black. Lava oozes from the cracks and rolls across the ocean floor. Earthquakes rumble and roar as tectonic plates grate against each other. We're at the rim of the Pacific Basin. Being one of Earth's most geologically active places, scientists have nicknamed the area the "Ring of Fire." The movement of tectonic plates has created a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches and chains of volcanoes stretching for 25,000 miles. The Ring of Fire is home to hundreds of volcanoes, but most remain hidden far below the water's surface. In fact, 75% of all volcanic activity on the earth happens in the ocean, but the effects of all this activity aren't felt only in the Pacific Basin. Earth's ocean and geology are global, interconnected systems that can affect us all. Tsunamis can be generated by underwater earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, or landslides, and, as we have seen, their impacts can be devastating. Undersea volcanoes produce chemicals and heat that affect the ocean environment. We need to better understand these natural inputs as we increasingly introduce our own with man-made pollutants. We've only recently begun to explore the hundreds of volcanoes rising from the ocean floor that make up the Ring of Fire. Over the last few decades, several expeditions to the western Pacific Basin have been conducted.

(Describer) Different screens show the large equipment used on expeditions.

Using the latest mapping and robotic instruments, researchers have learned more about the geologic activity at these sites and the marine life that thrives on hydrothermal vent systems. But learning new things often leads to more questions, which means there's still a whole lot more left for us to discover.

(Describer) Title: Narrator: Dustin Parkhurst Logos are shown for the Smithsonian and NOAA. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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The rim of the Pacific Basin is one of the most geologically active places on Earth, and scientists have nicknamed the area "The Ring of Fire." The movement of tectonic plates has created a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches and chains of volcanoes stretching for twenty-five thousand miles. Part of the "Deep Sea Dive" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 3 minutes

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