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Volcanoes are not randomly distributed over the Earth's surface. Most are concentrated on the edges of continents, along island chains, or beneath the sea where they form long mountain ranges. More than half of the world's active volcanoes above sea level encircle the Pacific Ocean (see Fig. 1). The concept of plate tectonics explains the locations of volcanoes and their relationship to other large-scale geologic features. The Earth's surface is made up of a patchwork of about a dozen large plates and a number of smaller ones that move relative to one another at <1 cm to ~10...

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