Fact Check: There Was NOT 2nd, Bigger Tonga Eruption 2 Days After Historic January 16, 2022 Blast

Fact Check

  • by: Dean Miller
Fact Check: There Was NOT 2nd, Bigger Tonga Eruption 2 Days After Historic January 16, 2022 Blast Scare Tactic

Did Hunga Ha'apai volcano near Tonga erupt January 16, 2022, in an even bigger event than the January 14, 2022, eruption that triggered tsunami warnings worldwide? No, that's not true: No such event was recorded by the geologic services that track volcanic activity in Tonga, nor by services that use seismic and other readings to track vulcanism.

The claim appeared in a January 16, 2022, article published by HalTurnerRadioShow.com on January 16, 2022, titled "Second Eruption - MUCH MUCH WORSE - At Hunga-Tonga Volcano. Tsunami again?????" (archived here), which opened:

A second eruption is now taking place at the Hunga-Tonga volcano in the South Pacific ocean and this one is MUCH MUCH worse than the explosive...

Users on social media only saw this title, description and thumbnail:

Second Eruption - MUCH MUCH WORSE - At Hunga-Tonga Volcano. Tsunami again?????

A second eruption is now taking place at the Hunga-Tonga volcano in the South Pacific ocean and this one is MUCH MUCH worse than the explosive...

The National Weather Service, which monitors seismic and volcanic activity across the globe and issues tsunami alerts, issued detailed reports on January 14, 2022, to prepare the U.S. West Coast for waves generated by the eruption in Tonga.

It has issued no such warnings of a second and bigger eruption. Following is how the page looked for January 16, 2022, the day of the purported new eruption:

NOAA.JPG

(Source: www.tsunami.gov screenshot taken Mon Jan 19:59:54 2022 UTC)

The last activity reported on the Tonga Meteorological Services Facebook page was the January 14 eruption, with no new eruption recorded.

In neighboring Fiji, the National Disaster Management Office, which had posted tsunami threat warnings immediately after the January 14 eruption, posted cancellations of those warnings and had not renewed them on January 16.

Volcano Discovery, a private organization devoted to volcano trekking, maintains a list of "What's Erupting" and had, on January 16 and 17, collected only reports of ash fallout from the January 14 eruption.

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  Dean Miller

Lead Stories Managing Editor Dean Miller has edited daily and weekly newspapers, worked as a reporter for more than a decade and is co-author of two non-fiction books. After a Harvard Nieman Fellowship, he served as Director of Stony Brook University's Center for News Literacy for six years, then as Senior Vice President/Content at Connecticut Public Broadcasting. Most recently, he wrote the twice-weekly "Save the Free Press" column for The Seattle Times. 

Read more about or contact Dean Miller

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