Fact Check

Is This CCTV Footage of Tonga Volcano Eruption?

There are many incredible videos of the devastating volcanic eruption in Tonga, but this is not one of them.

Published Jan. 25, 2022

Image courtesy of Vimeo
A video shows CCTV footage of the volcano eruption in Tonga.

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In the days following a large volcano eruption that took place off the coast of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai in the southern Pacific Ocean on Jan. 14, 2022, a number of videos showing the chaotic scene were circulated on social media. One such video claimed to show CCTV footage of the eruption:

This is not a genuine video of the Tonga volcano eruption. This is a simulation video that was created with computer software.

The video was created circa 2011 by researchers at Victoria University and the Auckland War Memorial Museum in order to show the impact a volcano eruption could have on the area. Brandspank, a VFX (visual effects) company in New Zealand, shared the video on Vimeo along with a caption explaining that "high end 3D technologies and particle effects were combined with a background plate" to create a "realistic rendering of a catastrophic event."


The video was also posted to the Auckland War Memorial Museum's YouTube page in 2019 under the title "Auckland Museum Volcano Simulation - Auckland Museum."

This volcano eruption simulation video is frequently shared in the aftermath of large real-world volcanic eruptions. For example, it was also miscaptioned and circulated in the days following a volcano eruption in New Zealand in 2019.


Auckland Museum Volcano Simulation - Auckland Museum. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RfPsoiyJfs. Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

Brandspank. Auckland Museum Volcanic Eruption. 2011. Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/29927106.

“Does This Video Show the White Island Volcano Eruption?” Snopes.Com, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/white-island-volcano-video/. Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

“Fact Check: Simulation of Underwater Volcanic Explosion Passed off as Mount Sinabung Eruption.” India Today, https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/simulation-of-underwater-volcanic-explosion-mount-sinabung-eruption-1552262-2019-06-19. Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

“Simulation Video Falsely Shared as Recent Volcanic Eruption in Indonesia.” FACTLY, 14 Aug. 2020, https://factly.in/simulation-video-falsely-shared-as-recent-volcanic-eruption-in-indonesia/.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.