FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Mount Semeru Erupting In Early December?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows Indonesia’s Mount Semeru erupting on Dec. 4.

Verdict: False

The video actually combines a photo of the Tumpak Sewu waterfalls with an animation of Chile’s Calbuco volcano erupting in 2015.

Fact Check:

Mount Semeru, a volcano located in East Java, Indonesia, erupted Dec. 4, causing significant damage to nearby villages and killing dozens of people, according to the NASA Earth Observatory. Over 3,000 people have also been displaced from their homes due to the eruption, Al Jazeera reported.

Following the volcanic activity, a video allegedly capturing Semeru’s eruption was shared on Facebook, where it has garnered over 730 views so far. In the video, a volcano appears to be spewing massive clouds of smoke and ash into the sky, with a forest-surrounded waterfall in the foreground. (RELATED: Does This Video Show A Volcano Erupting In The Democratic Republic Of The Congo?)

This video, however, was not taken during Semeru’s eruption. A reverse image search revealed that the volcano pictured in the background of the video is actually the Calbuco volcano located in southern Chile. Back in April 2015, that volcano erupted for the first time in over 40 years, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program. A photo of the 2015 Calbuco eruption on Getty Images matches the volcanic eruption occurring in the background of the Facebook video.

The waterfall shown in the video is called the Tumpak Sewu waterfall, as seen in stock photos on Alamy and iStock and in aerial footage shared on Youtube by Suwandi Chandra Photography. While this waterfall is located near Mount Semeru in East Java, the video shared on Facebook is fabricated. It appears to combine a picture of the Tumpak Sewu waterfalls with an animation of the 2015 Calbuco eruption.

The Weather Channel has published satellite imagery showing before and after Semeru’s recent eruption.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter