The earthquake in Morocco was the result of the movement of tectonic plates, not HAARP

By: Christian Haag
September 11 2023

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
The earthquake in Morocco was the result of the movement of tectonic plates, not HAARP


The Verdict False

HAARP cannot cause earthquakes. They are caused by the movement of tectonic plates.

Claim ID efb47ec1


On September 9, Morocco was hit by a magnitude 6.8 earthquake. The epicenter was in the Atlas mountains, 72 km southwest of Marrakech. The death toll has exceeded 2,500 people, and survivors and casualties are being dug out from under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

Many false claims have circulated on social media in the wake of the earthquake. One predominant claim is that the earthquake in Morocco was caused by the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a research facility that studies the ionosphere. HAARP has been the target of many conspiracy theories, claiming it can facilitate natural disasters and affect the weather.

The HAARP facility is located in Alaska and comprises a large array of antennas that use high-frequency transmissions to study the ionosphere, the boundary between the Earth's lower atmosphere and the vacuum of space.

Multiple posts claiming that the disaster was caused by HAARP are circulating on TikTok, and Twitter. However, the claim is false, and HAARP cannot cause earthquakes.

In fact

Robert McCoy, director of the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska, told Climate Feedback that HAARP's transmissions are relative to shortwave radio, and the amount of high-energy frequency from radio would exceed the transmissions from HAARP. The transmission only causes a small effect on the ionosphere for a few seconds and is used for a few hours every year. The research installation has no capability of affecting natural phenomena or causing earthquakes.

Earthquakes are caused by the moment of the earth's tectonic plates. Writing for the Conversation, Professor in Geodynamics Jesús Galindo-Zaldivar, who carries out research in the area of the Atlas Mountains, explains that the quake was caused by a geological phenomenon called a “reverse fault.” This occurs when tectonic plates collide, causing the Earth’s crust to thicken and create a fault. Stress is then accumulated along the fault lines of the collided plates, which, upon abrupt shifts, causes the energy to be released, resulting in an earthquake.

The Atlas Mountains, the epicenter of the earthquake, are situated south of the boundary between the Eurasian and African plates, which meet in the Mediterranean Sea. Every year, the Atlas Mountains are pushed together about 1 millimeter as the Eurasian and African plates move towards each other. 

Logically Facts has previously fact-checked similar claims surrounding HAARP, such as HAARP causing the earthquake in Turkey and Syria in 2023, or Japan in 2011 and 2007, or that HAARP is used to accelerate climate change through global weather modification 


HAARP is a research facility that studies the ionosphere, and its transmissions are only used for a few hours every year. It cannot cause earthquakes and similar claims have been repeatedly debunked by Logically Facts and other fact-checking organizations. We have therefore marked this claim as false.

Read this fact-check in:

English , Svenska

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before