By: Siri Christiansen
November 20 2023
Screenshot of an X post claiming that volcanic activity in Iceland, Mexico and Japan is caused by a pole shift. (Source: X/Screenshot)
Geologists and volcanologists have confirmed that the recent global volcanic activity is entirely normal. There is no proof of a magnetic pole shift.
As people in south-west Iceland remain on edge in the wake of the ongoing volcanic activity in the island nation, social media platforms like X (formerly Twitter) have been flooded with posts showing visuals of volcanic activity reportedly co-occurring in Italy, Mexico, and Japan.
Several posts sharing such visuals claimed that “this isn’t normal” and that “the motherland is trying to tell us something.”
Some, however, went a step further and claimed that the volcanic activity was caused by a magnetic pole shift that could cause the fall of civilization.
The magnetic field protects the Earth from cosmic rays and the sun’s coronal mass ejections. Like the Earth, the magnetic field has poles, and should the magnetic field weaken significantly, these poles could flip and result in cosmic rays colliding with atoms in our atmosphere. According to NASA, the last major flip happened some 41,500 years ago when “the magnetic field weakened significantly and the poles reversed, only to flip back again about 500 years later.”
“The Ring of Fire is activated,” a prepper influencer wrote on X, advising readers to “get ready for a major satellite and grid collapse.” The influencer also uploaded a YouTube video on November 12 for his 94,000 subscribers, where he claims that the tectonic plate movements are caused by coronal mass ejections from the sun hitting the Earth. In another video uploaded on November 14, the person claims that the European Union is warning of a “magnetic pole reversal” and reads an article from the EU Horizon website. The two videos have been seen around 40,000 times in total as of November 16.
Several well-established seismologists and geologists have confirmed that the ongoing volcanic activity in Iceland and other places is entirely normal.
According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program, there are typically 20 active volcanic eruptions, and 40-50 volcanoes in continuing eruption status, on any given day.
In a post shared X on November 14, volcanologist and science journalist Dr. Robin George Andrews also reiterated that it was normal for volcanoes to erupt “all the time all over the world.”
Screenshot of X post from volcanologist Dr. Robin George Andrews.
In a TikTok video, the earthquake geologist and science communicator Dr. Wendy Bohon explained that the reason why the recent eruptions may seem out of the ordinary is that they are happening in higher-profile locations than usual, which generates more media coverage. She also referred to the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, a cognitive bias where people perceive something to happen more often than it does after noticing it for the first time.
“I see this a lot with earthquakes. Whenever there’s a high profile volcanic eruption or a high profile earthquake, people become more prone to seeing other earthquakes or other volcanic eruptions that are happening around the world that they might not have paid attention to at other times,” Bohon said.
Logically Facts also reached out to Bjarne Almqvist, associate professor in geophysics at Uppsala University, who confirmed that there is no verified connection between Iceland’s volcanic activity and a pole shift. “Currently, there is no direct evidence that we are experiencing a pole shift or are even heading towards a pole shift,” he added.
While it is true that the Earth’s magnetic field has weakened, particularly in the South Atlantic anomaly which X users have referenced, Almqvist emphasized that the EU article shared as evidence is five years old.
“It indicates that the South Atlantic anomaly is most likely a temporary regional weakening of the magnetic field and that the field will return and gradually strengthen again. This is in contrast to a pole reversal, where we expect the global magnetic field to weaken and break down, to shift the magnetic north and south poles,” Almqvist added.
Posts on X claim that the volcanic activity in Iceland, Italy, and Mexico is a symptom of the Earth’s magnetic pole shift. However, several experts in geology and volcanology have confirmed that the recent volcanic activity is not abnormal and that there is no evidence that we are experiencing a pole shift. We have, therefore, marked this claim as false.