A series of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions in the past 48 hours in the geological disaster zone known as the Ring of Fire are not connected, according to scientists.
At least five different natural disaster events have occurred in the Pacific Rim in the past two days, including a 7.9 magnitude earthquake in Kodiak, Alaska, a 6.1 magnitude quake in Indonesia and the eruption of Mount Kusatsu-Shirane near Tokyo, Japan.
However, experts suggest the number and intensity of the cataclysmic activity is nothing more than a coincidence.
“There’s not really likely to be any connection,” Curtin University geologist Chris Elders told The New Daily.
“While they do indeed have the same origin – the Ring of Fire – these recent events are a coincidence. The region itself is a breeding ground for seismic activity.”
The Ring of Fire is an extremely volatile chain of 452 volcanoes, tectonic plates and earthquake zones, spanning 40,000km in a horseshoe around the edges of the Pacific Ocean.
It stretches from New Zealand, through Indonesia, the Philippines, and down the coasts of Alaska, Canada and the west coast of the Americas.
Roughly 90 per cent of all earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, and the ring is dotted with 75 per cent of all active volcanoes on Earth.
Professor Elders said the region’s susceptibility to disasters is due to its number of subduction zones, where one tectonic plate slides under another, causing earthquakes.
“It’s not a cause for concern. Activity in the region is subject to variation,” he said.
The Alaskan earthquake, which struck around 12.30am on Tuesday (local time), was initially measured at magnitude 8.2, hitting 256 kilometres south-east of Chiniak at a depth of 25km, the US Geological Survey said.
It sparked widespread panic with tsunami warnings issued for parts of Alaska and Canada. The entire US west coast was put on tsunami watch.
Officials at the National Tsunami Centre cancelled the warning after a few tense hours when waves failed to show up in coastal Alaska communities.
It was the biggest quake since 8.1 magnitude earthquake in Chiapas, Mexico in September last year.