Old video shared as recent volcanic eruption in Iceland

By: Soham Shah
November 17 2023

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Old video shared as recent volcanic eruption in Iceland

An X post claiming the video shows a volcano currently erupting in Iceland. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

A volcano warning is currently in place in Iceland, but this video shows an old eruption of the Fagradalsfjall volcano in March 2021.

Claim ID 4a9f3e3b

What is the claim?

Users on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) have shared a video claiming that it shows a recent volcanic eruption in Iceland. One such post published on November 16 read, "Iceland - Volcano is starting to erupt. Mass evacuations are happening." Archived links of the post and similar others can be accessed here and here.  

An X post claiming the video shows a volcano currently erupting in Iceland. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

This comes in the backdrop of Iceland preparing for a volcanic eruption in the Fagradalsfjall volcanic system. According to a Reuters report, the Icelandic Meteorological Office has said there is a "considerable" risk of an eruption, and authorities have ordered an evacuation of Grindavik, a fishing town with a population of around 3,000. This eruption had not taken place at the time of writing this fact-check.

What is the truth?

Using a keyframe reverse image search, we found that the video dates back to at least March 2021. It was posted on the social media website 9GAG on March 21, 2021, with the caption, "Volcano erupting in Iceland this week". It was also shared on X on March 22, 2021, with the caption, "Scary moments as a part of Iceland's newest volcano collapses 😳🌋What would you do in this situation?"

According to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Fagradalsfjall volcano in Iceland erupted on March 19, 2021. 

Business Insider reported on this incident in May 2021 and said that the volcano had erupted after remaining dormant for nearly 6,000 years and had become a tourist attraction. The video report also carried testimonies and visuals of tourists observing the eruption. Similar features of the volcano could be spotted at the beginning of the viral video and in the Business Insider video (around the 1:09 timestamp).

Comparison of the viral video and Business Insider video (Source: X/Business Insider/Modified by Logically Facts)

A report by Lonely Planet published on March 23, 2021, mentioned similar details of the incident and carried a photo of the fissure erupting as onlookers watched. A Getty Images photo included in the report also seemed very similar to the volcano seen at the beginning of the viral video. 

Photo in the Lonely Planet report (Source: Lonely Planet/Jeremie Richard/AFP via Getty Images)

The Fagradalsfjall volcano

According to Volcano Discovery, the Fagradalsfjall volcano is a tuya volcano that comprises an area of eruptive fissures (fissure swarm), cones, and lava fields in the southern part of the Reykjanes peninsula. The volcano is around 25km from the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History says that the volcano also erupted in August 2022 and July 2023.

While the visual comparison with the reports confirms that the eruption seen in the viral video is that of the Fagradalsfjall volcano, the earliest online availability of the video since March 2021 confirms that it shows the first eruption. 

The verdict

We have marked this claim as misleading as the viral video reportedly shows the Fagradalsfjall volcano eruption in March 2021. It is unrelated to recent warnings of a volcanic eruption in the same region of Iceland. 

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