Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Volcano on Pacific Ring of Fire erupts

Donna Coutts and AP, August 11, 2020 7:00PM Kids News

Print Article

A man cleans a car covered with ash following an eruption by Mount Sinabung at the Sukatepu village in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia on August 10. Picture: AFP media_cameraA man cleans a car covered with ash following an eruption by Mount Sinabung at the Sukatepu village in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia on August 10. Picture: AFP


Reading level: green

Indonesia’s rumbling Mount Sinabung erupted on Monday, sending a column of volcanic materials as high as 5km into the sky and depositing ash on villages.

It’s the latest eruption along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a 40,000km-long arc* of volcanoes and fault lines encircling* the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire is where 75 per cent of the world’s volcanoes are, where 90 per cent of earthquakes happen and includes the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on Earth.

Falling grit and ash settled up to 5cm deep in already abandoned villages on Mount Sinabung’s slopes, said Armen Putra, an official at the Sinabung monitoring post on Sumatra Island.

At Berastagi, a city in North Sumatra province, about 20km from the crater, drivers switched on car headlights in daylight to see through the ash.

media_cameraFarmers work on their farm covered with ash from Mount Sinabung at the Sukatepu village in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia on August 10. Picture: AFP

There were no deaths or injuries from the eruption, Indonesia’s Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation* Center said.

The Center advised people to stay 5km from the crater’s mouth, and should be aware of the danger of lava. Air travel was not being impacted so far by the ash, the Transport Ministry said.

media_cameraMount Sinabung spews thick ash and smoke into the sky in Karo, North Sumatra, Indonesia on August 10. Picture: AFP

Around 30,000 people have been forced to leave homes around Sinabung in the past few years.

The volcano, one of two currently erupting in Indonesia, was dormant* for 400 years before exploding in 2010. There were eruptions in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Mount Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

media_cameraIndonesian schoolchildren walk together at Sipandak elementary school in Tiga Pancur village in Karo, North Sumatra on February 19, 2018, as thick volcanic ash from Mount Sinabung volcano rises into the air following another eruption. Picture: AFP

The Pacific Ring of Fire is also known as the Circum-Pacific Belt.

It traces a line of the meeting points of many of Earth’s tectonic plates*, including Australian, Antarctic, Eurasian, North American, Juan de Fuca, Cocos, Caribbean, Nazca, Indian, Philippine, and smaller plates. These all encircle the big Pacific Plate.

These tectonic plates are constantly moving: bumping into or sliding above or below each other, creating fault lines in the Earth. This causes volcanoes, earthquakes and deep ocean trenches.

One of these ocean trenches is the Mariana Trench, 11,034m deep and the deepest point on Earth. If you put Mount Everest at the bottom of the trench, the summit would be 2133m below sea level.

About 90 per cent of the world’s earthquakes occur along the Ring of Fire, including the Valdivia Earthquake in 1960 in Chile. At 9.5 out of 10 on the Richter scale*, this is the strongest earthquake ever recorded.

Mount Tambora, Indonesia, erupted in 1815, also along the Ring of Fire and is the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history.

Australia is not located on the Ring of Fire. It skirts around to the north (including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea) and east (including New Zealand) of Australia.


  • arc: part of a curve shape
  • encircling: forming a circle around
  • mitigation: act of reducing how bad something is
  • dormant: asleep, inactive
  • tectonic plates: big pieces that make up Earth’s crust
  • Richter scale: number scale for expressing how severe an earthquake is


What is at the centre of Earth?

Tourists rescued as island volcano erupts

Volcanic eruptions spew ash into stratosphere

Why do volcanoes take so long to erupt?

Earthquakes signal Iceland’s volcanoes waking up


  1. Which Indonesian island is Mount Sinabung on?
  2. How long had Mount Sinabung been dormant before 2010?
  3. How many active volcanoes are there in Indonesia?
  4. What is another name for the Pacific Ring of Fire?
  5. Name the trench that is the deepest point on Earth.


1. Write a Cinquain Poem
Write a Cinquain poem on the Ring of Fire.

A cinquain poem is structured like this;


  • Line 1: one word Dinosaurs
  • Line 2: two words Lived once,
  • Line 3: three words Long ago, but
  • Line 4: four words Only dust and dreams
  • Line 5: one word Remain

*(by Cindy Barden)

Present your Cinquain poem artistically on poster paper or using a computer program.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English

2. Extension
If you were to build a house in the vicinity of any of these volcanoes, what things would you have to consider before building and living there?

Time: allow 15 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking

An adjective is a describing word. They are often found describing a noun. To start with look at the words before the nouns.

Search for all the adjectives you can find in the article

Did you find any repeat adjectives or are they all different?

Extension: Pick three of your favourite adjectives from the text and put them in your own sentences to show other ways to use them.

Have you used any in your writing?

HAVE YOUR SAY: What in this story would you like to learn more about?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

Extra Reading in geography