Volcanic eruptions can be spectacular — but deadly. A volcano is an opening in the earth's surface through which red-hot lava (melted rock) and gases spew into the air. Most volcanoes are located where the large, rigid plates that make up the earth's surface move toward each other and collide.

Some eruptions have been so violent that entire towns have been wiped out, and thousands of people have died. In ancient Rome, a volcanic eruption destroyed the entire city of Pompeii (pahm-PAY) in 79 A.D. The word volcano comes from Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

Volcanoes are found on every continent. The largest concentration of volcanoes is located along a belt known as the Ring of Fire, which circles the Pacific Ocean. Find this area on the map below.

It's not possible to show the location of every volcano (Iceland, for example, has more than 30 active volcanoes), but the map shows the location of major volcanoes. Study the map. Then answer the questions. Need help finding some of the country names? Find the information you need in an atlas.

Photo Credit: Jim McMahon

  1. What does each red dot on the map indicate?
  2. What country, located just east of China, has several major volcanoes?
  3. Can you name the volcanic islands located on the equator just west of Ecuador?
  4. What island country, southeast of Australia, is located on the Ring of Fire?
  5. Which northern European island country has a large number of volcanoes?
  6. Which ocean borders a coast of South America that has many volcanoes?
  7. Which U.S. state has a long chain of volcanic islands?
  8. In which region of the continental U.S. are most volcanoes located?
  9. The map shows several volcanoes in which Mediterranean country (the site of ancient Pompeii)?

Junior Scholastic. New York: Mar 22, 2004. Vol. 106, Issue 15; pg. 20, 2 pgs