Fact Check: Images Of Spacecraft And Structures In Antarctica Are Not Real -- Digitally Edited And Misrepresented Pictures

Fact Check

  • by: Sarah Thompson
Fact Check: Images Of Spacecraft And Structures In Antarctica Are Not Real -- Digitally Edited And Misrepresented Pictures Digital Edits

Does a collection of photos shared on social media show "another world" and remnants of a lost civilization or buried spacecraft under the ice of Antarctica? No, that's not true: These photos come from several sources. Some are presented with no context, while others are mislabeled or have been digitally edited to create science-fiction fantasy scenes.

The collection of 11 photos was posted on Facebook on February 10, 2023, on the page "Current Mystery." The caption read:

That There Is Another World Under Antarctica's Ice

This is how the post appeared at the time of the writing of this fact check:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Feb 17 18:46:30 2023 UTC)

Using reverse image search tools, Lead Stories identified the sources of all these images. For clear identification, thumbnails of the images from the Facebook post are numbered below:


(Source: Lead Stories composite image of Facebook screenshots taken on Fri Feb 17 18:46:30 2023 UTC)

1. & 2. "The Orion Conspiracy"

These images appear at 13:21 and 13:14 in the 2008 French short film "La Conspiration d'Orion" ("The Orion Conspiracy") by French photographer-director Seb Janiak. Thumbnails of these images can be seen on the "Fourth Wreck" page on the film's archived website. The filmmaker describes the film on dailymotion.com:

This film is neither a work of fiction, nor a documentary. Forget the words "esoteric" or "fantastic", here we're speaking about REALITY...

3. Crevasse Safety

This photo appears in a July 12, 2021, article in The Antarctic Sun titled, "Radar satellites spot dangerous crevasses humans can't see." The Antarctic Sun is a publication of the U.S. Antarctic Program.

4. Thwaites Glacier Is Melting

This photo is by Seth Campbell, a professor from the University of Maine with the School of Earth and Climate Sciences. He is working with the International Thwaites Glacier Collaboration. The photo appeared in an April 22, 2020, NOVA article titled, "Scientists find warm water beneath Antarctica's most at-risk glacier."


(Source: Lead Stories composite image of Facebook screenshots taken on Fri Feb 17 18:46:30 2023 UTC)

5. Frozen City Concept Art

This scene was rendered with Photoshop by the digital artist D dK. It was posted to artstation.com on July 16, 2017 along with several additional icy urban scenes. The concept art collection is titled "Frozen City." The orientation of the original artwork has been reversed in the Facebook post.

6. Lemaire Channel - West Antarctica

This December 8, 2005, photo by W. Bulach was shared on Wikimedia Commons. Bulach notes:

Glacier breaking edge in the Lemaire Canal. The Lemaire Canal is a narrow ship passage. It separates the island of Booth from the Antarctic Peninsula.

7. Florida Sinkhole

This photo in the Facebook post has been digitally edited to add a sphere in the crater. This image appears at 13:25 minutes into Seb Janiak's 2008 French short film "La Conspiration d'Orion" (The Orion Conspiracy). In 1994, a Karst sinkhole formed at an IMC-Agrico plant in Mulberry, Florida when a phosphogypsum stack collapsed. Video footage over this sinkhole was shot from a WTVT-TV Fox 13 Tampa Bay News Helicopter. A detailed report (.pdf here) describes the sinkhole and successful remediation efforts to protect the groundwater. A photo of this sinkhole illustrates a UC Davis Engineering webpage on Karst Sinkholes:

This massive sinkhole formed on top of a gypsum stack in Florida, and contributed to contamination of the aquifer below. Grouting work by Hayward Baker to seal the aquifer from the gypsum stack was recognized with a national award.

8. Pine Island Glacier Cracks

This photo was taken by the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellite on September 14, 2019. It appears in an October 22, 2019, article on foxnews.com titled, "Endangered Antarctic glacier could soon create a massive new iceberg '4 times the size of Manhattan.'"


(Source: Lead Stories composite image of Facebook screenshots taken on Fri Feb 17 18:46:30 2023 UTC)

9. Mining Exploration Camp

This photo appears on many stock image websites. It was uploaded to istockphoto.com on July 20, 2018. It is captioned:

Mining Exploration Camps and Diamond Mine Aerial stock photo
exploration camps in northern Canada

10. Mount Erebus Summit Crater

This photo in the Facebook post has been digitally edited to add UFOs in each of the three craters. This UFO graphic appears to have been recycled. It can be seen in two science-fiction digital art images by Colin Anderson at gettyimages.com.

The UFO is shown flying over the Grand Canyon in one photo, and over a city in the other. There is no indication that Anderson made the Mount Erebus edit, but Lead Stories contacted him and will update this article accordingly if we receive a response.

Mount Erebus is an active volcano on Ross Island, Antarctica with a persistent lava lake in the summit crater. The original photo (without the UFOs), attributed to Carsten Peter, appears in a July 2012 National Geographic Japan Version article. The English-language National Geographic article that features the photo at nationalgeographic.com has a paywall.

11. Colonnade at Deviant Art

This artwork by Julian-Faylona titled, "Colonnade" was published on deviantart.com on May 13, 2017.

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  Sarah Thompson

Sarah Thompson lives with her family and pets on a small farm in Indiana. She founded a Facebook page and a blog called “Exploiting the Niche” in 2017 to help others learn about manipulative tactics and avoid scams on social media. Since then she has collaborated with journalists in the USA, Canada and Australia and since December 2019 she works as a Social Media Authenticity Analyst at Lead Stories.


Read more about or contact Sarah Thompson

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