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Amazing Tsunami Picture

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Netlore Archive: Emailed image purports to show the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004 washing ashore on the Thai island of Phuket (or Indonesia, depending on version).

Description: Viral image
Circulating since: Dec. 2004
Status: Fake (see details below)

Example:
Email contributed by Helen, Jan. 4, 2005:

Subject: Fwd: Fw: TSUNAMI


Click to Enlarge

(Image source: unknown, circulating via email)


Analysis: Hoax. Virtually everyone who has submitted this image to me for authentication has expressed disbelief, and no wonder. Given the enormity of the real event, this is a "Kodak moment" which, if authentic, would have appeared on the front page of every newspaper in the world. But it didn't. Nor is it hard to figure out that it's the work of a prankster who combined two unrelated images into one striking — but bogus — montage.

In one version of the email the locale is specified as Phuket, Thailand. In another, Indonesia. Neither is plausible, however, because in both places vehicles are driven on the left side of the road, not the right as shown above.

  HOAX QUIZ: Can YOU Spot the Fakes?
Real or fake?
Image #1: Snapshot of a mountain in Ukraine resembling a sleeping cat.
  Choose one:  Real  or  Fake?
Nor do the form and magnitude of this wave match eyewitness accounts or authentic images of the tsunamis that actually struck parts of Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. Those waves didn't crest at a height of twenty stories and crash down on the shoreline as depicted here. On the contrary, the waters were described as rising swiftly and steadily to a maximum height of around 10 meters (or less, in most cases) as they swept steadily inland, retreated, and swept in again.

In short, the image above represents someone's fantasy of what a tsunami looks like, not the real deal — as if the real deal and the devastation it caused weren't incredible enough in the first place.


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Related Netlore:

'Live Photos' of the Tsunami
Series of emailed images purports to show people running for their lives as the Indian Ocean tsunami washed ashore the day after Christmas 2004, but it actually documents a tidal wave on the Qiantangjiang River near Hangzhou, China in 2002.

Photo: 1/2 Second Before Tsunami Hit Sumatra Island
Viral image purports to show a massive tsunami engulfing a residential neighborhood on the island of Sumatra.

'Dead Mermaid' Washed Up by Tsunami
Emailed photos allegedly show the carcass of a dead mermaid washed up on a beach at Chennai, India by the devastating tsunami of December 26, 2004.

Fish Contaminated with 'Zulican' Virus After Tsunami
Text messages and forwarded emails warn Asian consumers to avoid eating seafood because fish killed by the Indian Ocean tsunami are supposedly infected with a deadly virus called "Zulican." It's a hoax.

Rare Deep-Sea Creatures Found on Phuket Beaches After Tsunami
Series of images purports to show rare deep-sea creatures washed up on the beaches of Phuket, Thailand.

Plea to Help Girl Orphaned by Tsunami
Circulating via email, photograph of a young girl in Phuket Hospital, a victim of the Indian Ocean tsunami whose parents were never found.

2-Year-Old Tsunami Victim in Thailand
Emailed images of a 2-year-old tsunami victim found battered and bruised but alive in Khao Lak, Thailand.


Sources and further reading:

Phuket Tsunami Photo Gallery
Actual tsunami photos taken by Helmut Issels

2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake/Tsunami
Wikipedia, ongoing coverage of 2004 tsunami

CNN.com Special: Tsunami
CNN, ongoing coverage of 2004 tsunami

Eyewitnesses Recount Tsunami Terror
CNN, 26 December 2004


Last updated: 04/12/12


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