Distribution of Earthquakes

Earthquakes can strike any location at any time, but history shows they occur in the same general patterns year after year, principally in three large zones of the earth:

  • Circum-Pacific seismic belt: The world’s greatest earthquake belt is found along the rim of the Pacific Ocean, where about 81 per cent of our planet’s largest earthquakes occur. It is also known as “Ring of Fire”.
  • Alpide earthquake belt: It extends from Java to Sumatra through the Himalayas, the Mediterranean, and out into the Atlantic. This belt accounts for about 17 percent of the world’s largest earthquakes.
  • Submerged mid-Atlantic Ridge: The ridge marks where two tectonic plates are spreading apart (a divergent plate boundary).