Ring of Fire latest: communities living in fear after latest massive earthquake

Saturday, October 21, 2017
By Paul Martin

COMMUNITIES across Indonesia, Vanuatu and southwestern Japan are on edge after more rumblings from the earthquake and volcano hotbed dubbed the Ring of Fire.

Sat, Oct 21, 2017

An earthquake struck Japan on Wednesday and was quickly followed by the latest eruption of Mount Sinabung in Indonesia – the latest incident in a worrying increase of seismic activity in the volatile region.

The 6.1 magnitude quake struck off Japan’s Ryukyu Islands at around 6pm local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.

Early reports suggested there were no damage or casualties but shaking was reported on inhabited islands nearest to the epicentre.

The tremors come just days after the Shinmoedake volcano in southwestern Japan started erupting for the first time in about six years.

It sent a plume of ash 1,700m from the crater and with cities and towns in the Miyazaki prefecture becoming covered.

Videos from the scene showed students wearing helmets and masks on their way to school at the foot of the volcano the following day.

Officials from Japan’s Meteorological Agency raised the volcanic alert level from two to three on a scale of five.

The 450 or so volcanoes that make up the Pacific Ring of Fire outline where the massive Pacific Plate rubs up against other plates of the Earth’s crust, creating a 25,000 mile-long zone prone to frequent earthquakes and eruptions.

It has lived up to its name in the past few weeks with a string if mass evacuations setting nervous communities in Indonesia, Vanuatu and now parts of southwestern Japan on edge.

Sinabung spewed a thick plume of smoke into the sky and sent lava spewing down the side when it erupted on Wednesday.

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