By: Siri Christiansen
November 20 2023
X user claiming that earthquakes in Iceland are explosions from Deep Underground Military Bases (DUMBs). (Source: X/Screenshot)
Iceland’s earthquakes have been interpreted by QAnon conspiracists as underground explosions aimed at destroying “Deep Underground Military Bases."
Iceland's southwestern coast has been rocked by intense seismic activity in the past few days, with over 2,000 earthquakes being recorded within 48 hours.
This has led some X (formerly Twitter) users to assert that the earthquakes are a secret operation to destroy "Deep Underground Military Bases (DUMBs)", which, according to the QAnon conspiracy theory, are used by "world leaders to hide trafficked children." As supposed proof, some users have shared images of screenshots showing a record of 85 Icelandic earthquakes that all took place at a magnitude depth of 10 kilometers or less.
The claim has been spread by several X users with a large following and has been viewed nearly half a million times in total as of November 16. Archived versions of such posts can be viewed here, here, here. The claim was also shared on a channel called 'Q_The Storm RiderTM' with over 19,000 followers, according to an X post.
The existence of DUMBs is an established QAnon conspiracy that has been around for several years, but the idea that earthquakes are connected to DUMBs is lesser known. The connection can be traced back to at least 2020 when a Facebook user suggested that a series of earthquakes were happening at the same locations in the U.S. as "evil illuminati bases where child trafficking is happening."
A more comprehensive look into the DUMB earthquake theory can be found on the conspiracy theory blog 'The Canadian Pine Cone— which primarily cites a researcher named Revan Rising and links to a Facebook profile that is no longer available—and on the website of Susan Rennison, who published an in-depth tutorial on how to identify DUMBs in September 2021. Rennison's assertions match the current viral claim. The website claims that "the strongest evidence" of DUMBs is "the scenario of earthquakes being recorded at precise depths, mostly 3km, 5km, and 10km."
The existence of DUMBs was debunked in 2021 by PolitiFact after QAnon conspiracists claimed that thousands of U.S. troops had been sent to Europe to rescue trafficked children and arrest "deep state cabal members" hidden in DUMBs.
Logically Facts contacted Björn Lund, a lecturer in seismology at Uppsala University in Sweden, to check if there was any possibility that man-made explosions could be mistaken for earthquakes.
"Earthquakes are formed when the rock on one side of a crevice moves rapidly relative to the other. It is a so-called shear movement, a movement along the crevice that hardly changes the volume of the area at all," Lund explained. "An explosion, on the other hand, involves a substantial change in volume, with the chemical substances in the explosive turning into gas that takes up a much larger volume. (...). When we measure the seismic waves, we can look at the ratio of pressure and shear wave sizes and thus determine whether the seismic event is a quake or a blast. Seismologists have been working on this since the 1950s."
Lund added that most earthquakes in Iceland occur at depths of less than 10km due to the region's thin earth crust. He also highlighted that the largest earthquakes in Iceland are observed globally, which means that several seismologists in different countries have each made their independent analysis of the past days' earthquakes. "The earthquakes are occurring along the fracture zone where magma penetrates. The intrusion of magma can also be seen with GPS data and data from radar satellites, which show how the ground surface swells when magma moves upwards in the earth's crust," he concluded.
Claims that Iceland's earthquakes are caused by deep underground military bases being destroyed as part of a secret military operation are an extension of a QAnon conspiracy theory. These claims are not backed by scientists and therefore, we mark this claim false.