Glencoe World Geography, 2005
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Chapter 32: The Physical Geography of Australia, Oceania, and Antarctica
"The Ring of Fire"

Introduction
Students have read about the physical geography of Australia, Oceania, and Antarctica. In this activity they will learn more about the location and origins of the Ring of Fire and how it relates to volcanic activity in the region. They will also learn about both the hazardous and the beneficial effects of volcanoes.

Lesson Description
Students will access information from the United States Geological Survey's Web site This Dynamic Earth to learn more about the Ring of Fire. Students will answer four questions and then apply what they have learned to create a bulletin board display.

Instructional Objectives

  1. Students will be able to discuss the theory of plate tectonics and the role of plate movement in the formation of the Ring of Fire.
  2. Students will be able to identify both the hazardous and beneficial effects of volcanoes.

Applied Content Standards
Standard 1: The geographically informed person knows and understands how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
Standard 4: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical and human characteristics of places.
Standard 7: The geographically informed person knows and understands the physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface.
Standard 15: The geographically informed person knows and understands how physical systems affect human systems.

Student Web Activity Answers

  1. As two plates collide, the deepest part of the subducting plate breaks into smaller pieces that can become locked in place for long periods of time before suddenly moving, which generates large earthquakes. The convergence of undersea plates leads to the formation of volcanic islands as, over millions of years, the erupted lava and volcanic debris pile up on the ocean floor until a submarine volcano rises above sea level to form an island volcano.
  2. Volcanic arcs and ocean trenches partly encircling the Pacific Basin form the so-called Ring of Fire. The volcanic island arcs lie parallel to and always landward of the ocean trenches.
  3. GPS satellites send continuous signals to GPS ground sites to measure distances between points on the earth, including sites around the Pacific Basin. Geographers use these repeated measurements to determine whether there is movement between plates or along faults. Scientists hope to learn more about how these movements relate to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
  4. Hazards include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis. Benefits include fertile soil from weathered volcanic rock, ore deposits contained in magma or hot water, fossil fuels from buried organic material, and geothermal energy.
  5. Students' displays will vary but should use both visual and textual materials to illustrate how a volcano forms along the Ring of Fire. The display should also explain the hazardous and beneficial effects of a volcano.

Go To Student Web Activity

 


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