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Fact Check: Old Clip From Japan Falsely Shared As Recent Footage Of Powerful Quake Rocking California

Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Claim
Powerful earthquake hit the California State of the US.
Fact
The viral video actually shows 2011 footage of a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hitting Japan.

A video claiming to show a moment when an 11.9 magnitude earthquake struck California state of the United States of America is going viral on TikTok. The surfaces on the heels of an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale struck Nepal on November 3, killing at least 128 people.

Against this backdrop, TikTok user @don_wicho504 posted a video showing an internal portion of a restaurant-like structure shaking violently. The footage also shows furniture swaying and lights rattling, while panic-stricken people are heard screaming in the background. Text superimposed on the video reads, “California earthquake 11.9 degrees. 11/7/23.”

The video posted on November 8 has garnered 14.4k likes, 2457 users have shared it and 852 people have commented on it until the time of publishing this article.

The archived version of the TikTok video can be seen here.

Newschecker found the claim to be misleading.

Fact Check /Verification

To check the authenticity of the claim made in the viral video, Newschecker split the video into several key frames and conducted reverse searches on them. A reverse search on one of the key frames led us to a video, dated February 15, 2020, posted on a Facebook account named ‘Panaroma Informaaivo’.

 On checking the video, we found that the video frames exactly matched the viral video. We checked the video caption with the help of Google translate and found that the footage showed the intensity of the March 2011 earthquake captured from Sendai Airport.

Taking a clue from the video details, we ran a search on Google and found the same footage published on a website named ‘Twisted sifter’. On checking the video, we found that the video was originally published on a YouTube channel named ANN News Channel on January 17, 2020. The video description reads, “Tsunami, Great East Japan Earthquake, Sendai airport, Miyagi, Japan.”

Further, we checked a video report, dated June 13, 2011, of Japan earthquake and Tsunami published on the YouTube channel of National Geography. The report confirmed that 9.0-magnitude earthquake and Tsunami had left more than 28,000 people dead or missing.

We didn’t find any reports of any big earthquake hitting California State of the US since the 7.1-magnitude quake of July 2019.

Thus, our findings clearly showed that the viral video actually showed the impact of the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Japan on March 11, 2011.

Conclusion

No, the viral footage falsely claims to show a major earthquake hitting California. The viral footage actually shows a clip of an earthquake hitting Japan on March 11, 2011.

Result: False

Sources
Panaroma Informativo /Facebook, Feb 15, 2020
Twisted Sifter, Feb 13, 2020
ANN News CH/YouTube, Jan 17, 2020
National Geography /YouTube, June 13, 2011


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Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal
Sanjeeb Phuyal is the Nepali Editor of Newschecker based in Kathmandu, Nepal. He brings over a decade of experience writing and editing news. In his previous stint, he worked as online editor for The Kathmandu Post. With the growth of social media platforms—and the ever-growing competition amongst media outlets to churn out breaking news, he feels that fact-checking every piece of information has become more essential today than ever before.

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