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Fact Check

Erta Ale Volcano, Ethiopia: Man Throws Bag Of Organic Waste in Lava Lake, Users Claimed it to Be a Rock: Fact-Check

A few days ago, a video began circulating on social media, depicting a strange incident near the Erta Ale Volcano in Ethiopia. The video showcased two individuals throwing an object into the volcano’s lava lake, resulting in the object catching fire. The video quickly gained attention as it was shared with claims that a mere rock could trigger volcanic activity. However, a closer look and investigation revealed a different story behind the viral footage. The video was extensively shared on social media platforms, prominent accounts such as @OTerrifying, @cctvidiots, @dainikinsider, @trinityboii and many users shared the video with misleading claims to gain social media attention with the use of ‘sensationalism’.

Source Verification: Unveiling the Truth Behind the Video

Upon researching the origins of the video, it was found that the same footage had been uploaded on YouTube approximately 11 years ago in January 2012. The YouTube channel, titled ‘Photovolcanica,’ disclosed that the object thrown into the Erta Ale Volcano’s lava lake was not a rock but a bag of organic waste. The video was intended to simulate the reaction that might occur if a person were to fall into the lava lake, using organic waste as a representation of a human due to the shared water content.

The video titled ‘Disposal of organic waste in Erta Ale Volcano lava lake causes violent eruption,’ was published on ‘photovolcanica’ YouTube channel on January 16, 2012. The description clarified that the video was not about awakening a volcano but rather a simulation experiment conducted in 2002. The purpose of the experiment was to observe the response of the lava lake to an object penetrating its crust, simulating the scenario of a person falling into the lake. The experiment used a cardboard box filled with camp waste, weighing around 30kg and measuring 60x60x60cm. The object was dropped from a height of about 80 meters, triggering a lava-fountaining reaction attributed in part to the steam produced from the organic matter.


In conclusion, the viral video circulating with claims of awakening a volcano by throwing a rock into the Erta Ale Volcano’s lava lake has been misunderstood. The video is, in fact, a simulation experiment carried out in 2002, aimed at exploring the behaviour of the lava lake when exposed to an object with similar properties to a human. The object thrown was not a rock but a cardboard box containing organic waste. Following comprehensive analysis and meticulous fact-checking, our team has investigated the claim. You can refer to the findings of this inquiry in the Twitter thread embedded below.

Claim: The video depicts volcanic activity triggered by a rock thrown into the Erta Ale Volcano’s lava lake.

Fact: The video is a simulation experiment conducted in 2002, using organic waste in a cardboard box. It is not about awakening a volcano, and the object thrown is not a rock.

In our pursuit of accurate and unbiased information, we’ve diligently fact-checked the claims surrounding the incident. Misinformation can sow discord and disrupt communal harmony. Your support matters greatly in our mission to foster an informed and united society. Together, let’s strive to make India and Indians proud, upholding truth and unity. Jai Hind.

Also Read: Indian Army Foils Infiltration Bid by Pakistan on the Line of Control, Users Claim Surgical Strike Against Pakistan: Fact-Check

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