Introduction, Task, Resources, Time, Process, Conclusion


Nearly a million people lived in and around Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines before it erupted on June 15, 1991. At the time, few people even believed that this mountain was, in fact, a volcano; after all, it had been dormant for nearly 500 years. Fortunately, the volcano sent some signals before its eruption that allowed most people in the area to evacuate in time. As a result, approximately 350 people died in the eruption and in the mudflows that followed. The eruption of Mount Pinatubo was one of the most severe eruptions ever recorded; it spewed out between 3.7 and 5.3 km3 of magma. In contrast, the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington State produced just a tenth of this volume.

The Philippine people are still struggling to recover from the devastating environmental and economic losses that resulted from Mount Pinatubo’s eruption. Meanwhile, there are signs that another Philippine volcano, Mount Mayon, is beginning to wake up. In Japan, Mount Fuji also has begun to emit smoke and noxious gases. What is going on in this part of the world? Why are there so many active volcanoes in places like the Philippines and Japan? What other volcanoes are showing signs of activity? How are these volcanoes related to those in the Philippines and Japan?


Your job in this WebQuest is to explore the active volcanoes of the world and discover how these volcanoes are related. In order to do this, you first will have to learn a little about plate tectonics, and about what happens when plates collide on Earth’s surface. You will learn about three different types of plate boundaries, and what kinds of volcanic activities are associated with each type. You will describe the plate boundaries located along the edges of the Pacific Ocean and identify an area known as the ring of fire. Then you will list information in a table on at least five active volcanoes from the ring of fire. Finally, you will draw a simple map of the ring of fire area and identify each of the volcanoes in your table on the map.


Look at the web sites given here to find the information that will enable you to complete your table and map on active volcanoes located in the ring of fire.


2 class period for research and completion of the table and map


Now that you have completed your research on active volcanoes found along the ring of fire, prepare a table that lists at least five active volcanoes found there. In the left column, write in the names of the volcanoes that you have researched. At the top of the rows, write in the location, date of last volcanic activity, and any important facts about the volcano. Finally, draw a simple map of the ring of fire area and identify each of the volcanoes listed in the table on the map. The table is started for you below.

Table 1. Ring of Fire Volcanoes

Name of Volcano Location Date of Last Activity Important Facts
Mount Mayon Philippines May 16, 2001 The dome vented gases; lava fragments are still being shed
Mt. Krakatau Indonesia May 27, 2001 Seismographs detected 7 deep and 54 shallow volcanic earthquakes

Once you have completed the table with information gathered from the Internet, you should be able to pinpoint the location of each volcano on a simple map you draw.


In the process of completing this WebQuest, you have become informed about the ring of fire and the volcanoes associated with it. You have become familiar with plate tectonics, and with the different types of plate boundaries. You have learned what type of plate boundary the ring of fire represents. You completed a table listing five active volcanoes, and included pertinent information in the table about the recent volcanic activity of each volcano. Finally, you drew a simple map and identified each volcano represented in the table on your map.

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