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Oil Rig Tornado Photo Hoax

Email claims that an attached photograph shows a large tornado and spectacular lightning strike alongside an oil rig in Texas (Full commentary below).

False - Image has been manipulated

Example:(Submitted, June 2008)
Subject: Oil Rig Picture - Apr.3.2008 TEXAS TORNADO

One of those moments when you try to remember if your affairs are all in order.

When the lightning flashes, this is not what you want to see.
Taken Thursday night, April 3, 2008.
Lariat # 2 - Sandridge Energy
South of Ft Stockton , TX

Oil Rig And Tornado Hoax Image

According to this message, an attached image is a photograph of a large tornado about to engulf an oil rig in Texas. A massive lightning strike illuminates the scene. The image is certainly a spectacular one. However, it is not a genuine photograph. Instead, the image consists of two or more other photographs cleverly joined together using image manipulation software such as Photoshop. The perpetrator of the hoax image has merged a photograph of an unidentified oil rig at night with a well known tornado image that has circulated on the Internet for several years. The tornado and lightning portion of the image was taken by Fred Smith over Lake Okeechobee, Florida in the early 1990's. The original, unaltered tornado photograph has been posted on and many other places on the Internet.

The tornado photograph has also circulated via email, blogs and forums without the added oil rig portion. It is often accompanied by inaccurate descriptions that falsely locate the twister to other places and times, including Pisgah, Alabama in 2008, Sedalia, Missouri in 2006 and The Villages, Florida in 2007.

Lake Okeechobee Tornado
Original Tornado Photograph
False Picture of Pisgah Tornado Circulating
Sedalia, Missouri
The Villages, Florida

Last updated: 1st August 2009
First published:4th June 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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