Oceania’s Papua New Guinea: Forged In Volcanic Fire

Modern day lakatoi at the Hiri Moale Festival, a modern celebration of the previous Hiri trade cycle. (Steve Jurvetson / CC BY-SA 2.0)

Oceania’s Papua New Guinea: Forged In Volcanic Fire

The Australasian realm in the Pacific Ocean includes Australia, New Zealand, eastern Indonesia, and several Pacific island groups - including Papua New Guinea – all scattered along the Ring of Fire, bracketing the rim of the Pacific Ocean. For billions of years, the earth’s tectonic plates have moved and shifted, creating oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, back-arc basins and volcanic belts. Two-thirds of the earth’s volcanic eruptions happened on the Pacific’s Ring of Fire, which has existed for more than 35 million years.

The Pacific Ring of Fire (Public Domain)

At a collision point of several tectonic plates within the Ring of Fire, lies the island of New Guinea. It is located on northern extension of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate and it is connected to the Australian segment by a shallow continental shelf across the Torres Strait, which formed a land bridge during ice ages. When the Indo-Australian plate moved north, it collided with the Eurasian plate, sculpturing the Himalayas, the Indonesian islands, and New Guinea's Central Range. Active volcanos, earthquakes and tsunami’s unleash extremities of Mother Nature’s elements, earth, wind, water and fire, on the island and although the island is close to the equator, it also experiences snowfall on its mountain peaks.

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