Does a satellite video of the volcano eruption in Tonga show a "white object," or what one post's headline called a "'ROD FROM GOD' KINETIC WEAPON," hitting the ocean and causing an explosion? No, that's not true: Tim Vasquez, a satellite imagery expert, told Lead Stories the image seen in the video is likely "a puff of ash from the earlier volcanic eruptions preceding."
The claim appeared as a video published on TikTok on January 17, 2022 (archived here), which opened:
Hey now look. I want y'all to see this.
Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:
sunnyred55 on TikTok
#China #us #wakeup #foryourpage #forupage #foru #nato #russia #fyp #duet #tonga #attack #hungatonga #saveyourself #tsunami #tongavolcano #lies #lie
The same video and narration was also published on the website Bitchute with the headline, "HEADS UP!! - A 'ROD FROM GOD' KINETIC WEAPON HITS THE OCEAN AND THEN THE TONGA ERUPTION HAPPENS."
The first 37 seconds of the video show a satellite image appearing to be over water with an unidentified narrator saying the long-range video shows a "white object" in and out of view before it hits the water, and then a huge cloud explosion is seen.
The narrator says:
Hey now look. I want y'all to see this. This white object. I made it go back and forth a few times so y'all could see it. See now, look. Look, man. It's gonna go in, splash and then it gonna go into the ocean and not even five seconds later it's about to explode ... Something ain't right. I'm telling y'all, man.
The video of the satellite view of the volcano eruption appears to have come from this Twitter account posted on January 15, 2022:
Today's #eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai #volcano seen by Japan's Himawari satellite.-- Simon Proud (@simon_sat) January 15, 2022
It's breathtaking how fast the eruption happens! pic.twitter.com/PWOftjQxeT
Proud described how long the time lapse video was in a subsequent tweet:
Video is about six hours: midnight UTC until 6am. Volcano erupted at 4am...and by 5am the ash cloud covered over 200,000 sq. km!-- Simon Proud (@simon_sat) January 15, 2022
The voice on the video says the "white object" hits the water and then an explosion happens. According to author and meteorological expert Vasquez, who spent nine years as an Air Force meteorologist and then started his own weather consulting and programming business, that is not true. He emailed the following statement to Lead Stories on January 22, 2022:
There's no way we would be seeing missile plumes in weather satellite imagery. At times we see contrails from commercial airplanes but only when they disperse over a very large, humid, unstably stratified layer. They have a signature that is different from this, very persistent with aerial spreading, and not transitory like in the clip. Also if you review videos on YouTube of various rocket descents from high altitude, they are on ballistic trajectories by that time and you can see they do not produce large cloud phenomena. The resolution is nowhere near good enough to detect a 'splash' (1-10 km vs 10-100 m).
We are likely just seeing a puff of ash from of the earlier volcanic eruptions preceding the main eruption.