This footage does not show a 'tsunami hitting Australia'

·3 min read

A video was viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media in late December 2021 alongside a claim about a tsunami that purportedly hit Darwin, the capital of Australia's Northern Territory, following an earthquake. But the video has been shared in a misleading context: the clips used to create the video have actually circulated prior to December 2021 in reports and posts about events outside Australia. No tsunami warnings were recorded in Darwin at the end of 2021.

The YouTube video was shared in a Facebook post on December 31, 2021.

It has been viewed more than 270,000 times.

The YouTube video's title reads: "Tsunami struck Australia after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake at Darwin. Coastal areas are flooded!"

A screenshot of the misleading Facebook post as of January 6, 2021.

On December 30, 2021, local media reported tremors felt by residents of the Australian city of Darwin following a 7.3-magnitude earthquake that originated in the Banda Sea, near Indonesia.

The video was shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter here.

However, the claim is misleading.

No tsunami warnings were recorded on December 31 in Darwin by the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre.

A Google reverse image search of clips used in the YouTube video found they have circulated in reports and posts prior to December 2021 about events outside Australia.

Alaska footage

The thumbnail of the video was found in this National Geographic article on tsunamis.

The first clip in the YouTube video -- which is shown from the beginning of the footage to its eight-second mark -- has circulated online since at least July 2020.

It directly corresponds to footage in this tweet about a tsunami warning in the US state of Alaska.

Below is a comparison between the clip in the misleading post (L) and the video in the Twitter post (R):

New Zealand waves

The second clip in the video -- which is shown from the 21-second to 27-second mark -- directly corresponds with footage published by the New Zealand Herald in March 2021.

The report states the footage shows waves hitting Tokomaru Bay, on the east coast of New Zealand.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the misleading post (L) and the video published by the New Zealand Herald (R):

Indonesia tsunami

Another reverse image search found the third clip in the montage corresponds with footage of a tsunami in Indonesia published by UK newspaper The Guardian on September 29, 2018.

This can be seen from the 33-second mark of the video in the misleading post.

Below is a comparison of the footage in the misleading post (L) and a YouTube video published by The Guardian (R):

Bahamas hurricane

The fourth clip in the video has circulated in US media reports since 2019 about Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

The clip can be seen from the one-minute five-second mark in the video shared in the misleading posts.

Below is a screenshot comparing the video in the misleading post (L) and the footage published by ABC 7 NY (R):

AFP found another clip in the misleading post shared here by a US-based user on November 10, 2018 in a post on stock video site Pexels. The post's description states it shows footage of waves breaking but did not specify the location.

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