I have been googling around for the shapefile that can be used to produce a map of the Pacific ring of fire, e.g. the pink region in the following map. All I could find were the map images, but I need the coordinates of the polygon that defines the boundary of the region. Where can I get hold of such data?Pacific ring of file

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    I don't think there's a precise definition of "the ring of fire". That pink polygon is just one person's sketch. You could make something similar in about ten minutes using Qgis. Watch out though, because it crosses the date line... – Spacedman Apr 28 '16 at 6:53
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    Ha, be brave! Just use a sensible map projection after manually georeferencing this image. – mdsumner Apr 28 '16 at 8:21
  • Thanks @Spacedman, for pointing that out -- after some more searching, there do seem to be variations in the definition of the "ring of fire" in maps from different sources, although the one posted above, from Wikipedia, seems very popular (it also appeared on the site of the USGS for instance). – user3667365 Apr 29 '16 at 0:53
  • Thanks @mdsumner for the suggestion, I'll try that as a last resort. – user3667365 Apr 29 '16 at 0:55
  • How about an open data that ESRI has set it up. You can find it here: opendata.arcgis.com – PROBERT Apr 30 '16 at 21:12

Had a spare twenty minutes so did this.

Ring Of Fire

The white stripe is just where tile servers aren't happy with the EPSG:3832 projection. Hmmm...

Process was: georeference image from wikipedia; load into QGIS; create new shapefile; digitise round ring of fire in image; save.

Zip of the shapefile is here:



You could start with a shapefile of volcanoes and drop the file into QGIS. Then set the projection to EPSG:3832 to give you a Pacific centred map. With the addition of a Natural Earth raster as a backdrop you end up with something like:

enter image description here

From there you just need to sketch in an outline if you need.


Better than volcanoes is the actual plate boundaries, given volcanoes are typically offset from the boundaries and aren't always indicative of a plate boundary (e.g. most volcanic sea mounts). Here's a project that publishes the boundaries and will mean you don't have to draw anything by hand (will work better with multiple map scales):

Here's a Github GeoJSON preview of the plates: https://github.com/fraxen/tectonicplates/blob/master/GeoJSON/PB2002_plates.json

enter image description here

Note that the Pacific plate will be segmented by the anti-meridian, so you may encounter standard issues with that.

You will probably want some combination of plate boundary and volcanoes.

  • Useful, but overlaying the Ring Of Fire from Wikipedia/USGS shows its not a simple buffer round plate boundaries. It follows the PA plate mostly, but then goes down the west side of South America, and on the other side of the ocean it just stretches out to cover large chunks of various other plates. – Spacedman May 3 '16 at 7:00
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    Yep, but then again the "ring of fire" isn't a precise concept to begin with... – Richard Law May 3 '16 at 7:32

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