FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Lava From A Volcanic Eruption In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo?

Brad Sylvester | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows lava flows from a recent volcanic eruption in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Verdict: False

While a volcano did recently erupt in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Facebook post actually contains years-old footage of lava in Hawaii.

Fact Check:

Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo erupted May 22, killing at least 31 people and destroying hundreds of homes, CNN reported.

One video circulating online claims to show several clips of lava flows from the recent Mount Nyiragongo eruption, including a clip that depicts lava flowing down a small hill and another that captures it pouring over a steep cliff into the ocean. The caption of the video reads, “Volcano eruption in Congo…( Goma).”

The Congolese city of Goma was partially evacuated in the days after the eruption due to concerns of another eruption, according to The New York Times. (RELATED: Does This Video Show A Fire Tornado During The 2020 California Wildfires?)

Through keyword and reverse image searches, Check Your Fact determined the footage in the Facebook video does not show the aftermath of the recent eruption in Congo. Rather, it depicts lava flows in Hawaii, which is home to multiple volcanos, including Kilauea, a volcano that’s East Rift Zone had, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, nearly continuous eruptive activity between 1983 and 2018.

The Guardian published footage of lava from Kilauea flowing down a small, grassy hill near the Hawaiian town of Pahoa in November 2014 that matches the first 19 seconds of the Facebook video. Similar footage was also posted by NBC News with the title “Hawaii Lava Flow Closes in on Pahoa Transfer Station” in November of that year.

The short clip capturing a close-up view of magma coming out of black, cooled lava can be found at the roughly 2:42-mark of a 2016 video posted by the YouTube channel Big Island Flow. The video description says it features footage of lava flows on Hawaii’s “big island,” the same island where Kilauea is located.

In April 2017, ABC News tweeted the final clip showing lava falling from a steep cliff into the sea, with the caption saying, “Lava gushes into the sea from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano, creating stunning visuals.” The clip of the magma coming out of the cooled lava also appears in the video shared by ABC News.

National Geographic and The New York Times in 2017 published similar scenes showing lava from Kilauea flowing into the ocean.

Brad Sylvester

Fact Check Reporter
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