Fake Tsunami Photo
Email forward claims that an attached photo depicts the Asian tsunami about to engulf a city (Full commentary below.
(Submitted, January 2005):
Subject: FW: Tsunami @ Indonesia WHAT A PICTURE.......IT IS SO HARD TO
[Click image for full size view]
A number of people who have submitted this email and picture have wondered why they have not seen such a graphic portrayal of the tsunami in newspapers and magazines. If real, such an image would surely be featured in print publications and on news websites the world over.
Of course, the reason why the image has not made it to legitimate news media is that it is a fake.
Reasons why the image can be dismissed as a forgery:
- Wave Height:
The wave in the picture appears to be as high as a multi-story building. Although the Asian tsunami was incredibly powerful and destructive, there are no reports of the wave reaching such towering heights. The height of the waves varied depending on where they breached the shore, but satellite images reveal that they may have reached
up to ten meters in some areas. While a wave ten-meter high is mind boggling enough, the wave depicted in the fake image is clearly many time that height.
- Conflicting Information:
The text that accompanies the fake image varies in its details. Some versions claim that a tourist in a high-rise building took the picture. Others claim the image is security camera footage. In some versions, the city is identified as simply being on the "Indonesia's Coast". Others claim that the city is actually Phuket in Thailand.
- Wrong part of the world:
The image shows vehicles travelling on the right side of the road. In both Indonesia and Thailand, vehicles are driven on the left side of the road. This indicates that the city is actually located in another part of the world.
The image is most probably a photograph of a real city skyline manipulated to include the towering "tsunami".
Although clearly a fake, the image is certainly an eye-catching one. Never the less, with so many real images of the tsunami available, there is no need to pass around a blatant forgery.
Write-up by Brett M.Christensen