This widely watched video claims it did, but I can't find any news.


2 Answers 2


It's true that an eruption of the Home Reef volcano in Tonga is occurring as of 17 September. Calling it an "explosion" seems to be an overstatement. The claim that it caused a tsunami affecting the Tongan capital on 17 September appears to be false. Most or all of the footage in the video is from earlier unrelated events.

Using the Youtube Metadata tool, the video was posted at Sat, 17 Sep 2022 19:00:13 GMT. It claims that a "horrible tsunami" has hit Tonga's capital city, which is Nukuʻalofa on the island of Tongatapu.

The Tonga Geological Services government agency, on their Facebook page, has announced in several posts around this time that the Home Reef volcano is currently erupting. They do not use the word "explode".

At 23:08 GMT on 17 Sep, four hours after the posting of the YouTube video in question, Tonga Geological Services posted Public Notice 7. It describes "fumarolic activities" and a release of steam, but no ash, and nothing that sounds like an explosion. It advises mariners to stay 4 km away from the volcano, but that there is "no hazard alert" and a "low risk" to the islands groups of Vava'u and Ha'apai, which are within about 100 km of the volcano. There is no mention of any damage whatsoever having occurred, let alone a "horrible" tsunami affecting the island of Tongatapu which is more than twice as far away (over 250 km from the volcano).

The Home Reef volcano is not to be confused with the Hunga Tonga–Hunga Ha'apai volcano, about 200 km to the south, which did cause a destructive tsunami on Tongatapu when it erupted in January 2022. That eruption was far more powerful than this one.

The narration in the video seems to be just reading some combination of TGS's Public Notices more or less verbatim, probably with either text-to-speech, or else a particularly dull human narrator who doesn't know that "m" stands for "meters". (It's not clear exactly which version; some of the text seems to match Public Notice 7, which was posted later than the video upload, so maybe Public Notice 7 was posted somewhere other than Facebook at an earlier time.) Anyway, none of the narration describes any actual damage or tsunami, which you would think they would if it were an actual report by a bona fide news agency of an actual event. The only mention of a tsunami is in the video's title.

Moreover, much or all of the video footage is actually from the January 2022 eruption and tsunami, or possibly other events. For example, at 3:37 in this video, there is footage of a person in a yellow jersey filming the ocean. The exact same footage appears at 0:14 in a collection of clips from the January eruption, posted by the (reputable) New Zealand Herald newspaper on 16 January 2022. Several other clips match between those two videos.

Conclusion: this video is a plagiarized hack job that misrepresents its own content. Don't bother watching anything from so-called "Update News".


Matangi Tonga Online ("Tonga's Leading News Website") posted an article on 17 September 2022:

Tonga's Home Reef Volcano erupted again early this morning, with eruption events increasing over the last 24 hours sending steam vents 1km into the atmosphere.

A volcanic submarine island has re-emerged 10m above sea level and continues to grow larger, from 1 acre to nearly 6 acres in five days.


The TGS Volcano Watch Team said today that “the island has grown from 70m diameter on 10 September to 170m diameter on 15 September, with an increase in area from 1 acres to 5.6 acres in five days, with an estimated height of 10m above sea level.”

So while it's true that there is an eruption in progress the video is clearly not showing an island 170m wide and 10m high. If you're feeling charitable you might say "it shows a variety of oceanic eruptions to help the audience understand the topic", but really it's just sensationalist clickbait lies.

In fact the YouTube channel concerned, "Update News", has a smorgasbord of volcano videos all with thumbnails based upon the same apocalyptic explosion, including a very fake-looking one for Lake Taupo in NZ, which has the headline "Horrible Today: Taupō Volcano on New Zealand,Massive Eruption Warning With 1,300 Earthquake Per Hour" - having more than one new quake every three seconds would indeed be beyond horrible, it wouldn't be measurable. And the descriptive text below is apparently lifted from a real and useful article:

Scientists have detected more than 1,300 quakes in the centre of Lake Taupō over the past three months – but that doesn't mean there's been any big change in the enormous caldera supervolcano beneath it. Since May, GeoNet has been monitoring a spate of earthquakes around the lake area similar to swarms observed across 2008 and 2009 - and most recently in 2019. The area under Lake Taupō - both inside and outside of the caldera - has been seismically active since 2000, with just over 5000 earthquakes located by GNS Science instruments.Since the start of May 2022, we have located over 1,300 earthquakes, mostly beneath the central part of the lake, duty volcanologist Agnes Mazot said.

So the channel is pumping out weirdly distorted (machine generated?) mashups of old footage triggered by current news stories. Art installation, prank, or just cash grab?

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