Original article (in Serbian) was published on 14/02/2023
The area of Turkey and Syria has been hit by a series of strong earthquakes since February 6, in which, according to the latest data, more than 36,000 people have died. This crisis is also accompanied by disinformation and conspiracy theories, and one of them, which has spread in Serbia, is that this earthquake was caused by man, that is, by the notorious HAARP system. Although human activity can indeed cause earthquakes, there is no evidence that this is the case with this most recent one. In particular, there is no evidence that it has anything to do with HAARP, which in the previous period was the “culprit” of the coronavirus pandemic.
Raskrikavanje’s reader asked us to check the claims of Romanian MP Diana Iovanovici Sosoaca that the series of devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria were artificially induced, which appeared on various video platforms, including YouTube. The video has since been removed from YouTube, but the mentioned claims continued to spread, so today they were published by the website Nulta tacka, which has been the subject of our debunking several times.
This MP made a series of claims without any evidence, for example, that certain power structures are using unconventional weapons (like the HAARP system) to punish Turkey, among other things, for its closeness to Russia and its commitment to peace. She also claims that there was no epicenter and that it is a series of earthquakes whose one goal is to destroy Turkish gas pipelines. Sosoaca, by the way, has already profiled herself in the previous period as a person who spreads disinformation during the pandemic and vaccination. She also managed to connect this event with the pandemic, saying that humanity “has been experiencing a killing campaign for three years now”, starting with vaccines.
A couple of facts
1. HAARP studies the ionosphere, there is no evidence that it causes earthquakes, hurricanes and pandemics
It is difficult for many people, in a situation of fear and panic, to believe that some events – such as earthquakes – can happen by chance, that it is impossible to predict them and to protect oneself completely. In an attempt to “uncover” the causes of things and gain some kind of sense of control, they resort to various conspiracy theories that offer an often unfounded explanation – that everything was caused by some powerful group of people.
It is not the first time that HAARP has been linked to significant global or local events. In the previous period, it was claimed that it emits waves that cause the coronavirus, that it is to blame for hurricane Ian, which hit the southeast of the USA and the Caribbean in September of last year, that it causes “chemtrails” and that it affects mind control.
As we wrote earlier, HAARP is the “high-frequency active auroral research program”, that is, a large system of radio antennas that emit high-frequency waves in the ionosphere for its study. This layer of the Earth’s atmosphere extends between 50 and 600 kilometres above the surface.
From the University of Alaska, which takes care of this system, they state on their website that HAARP “operates” in the high layer of the ionosphere and that it has no influence on the weather conditions on Earth that take place in the lower layers of the atmosphere – the troposphere and stratosphere. In other words, as they point out, the HAARP radio-antenna system is aimed at the ionosphere, not at the weather conditions or the Earth’s crust where earthquakes occur.
The claims of the Romanian MP were already debunked by some in the previous days. As experts told the American fact-checking web portal Lead Stories, claims about connections between HAARP and earthquakes have no foundation.
“There is absolutely no evidence that this was caused by man. The fault ruptured and the ground shook”, said US Geological Survey geophysicist Paul Caruso. HAARP program manager, Jessica Matthews, stated the same.
“HAARP cannot create or amplify natural disasters”, she told Lead Stories.
Read the details about HAARP in the separate text of Raskrikavanje.
2. People can cause earthquakes
However, it is true that human activity can cause earthquakes, which has happened several times in the past mainly thanks to mining, nuclear and other explosions, building construction or fracking – drilling underground rocks with high hydraulic pressure to maximally exhaust oil reservoirs.
The unofficial Induced Earthquakes database (last updated in June 2022) has so far recorded more than 1,000 artificially induced earthquakes, and in a third of the cases, fracking was the cause. Such earthquakes are mostly of lower amplitude, but not necessarily – it is believed that the largest induced earthquake so far was in India at the end of the sixties, with a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale, which occurred due to an excessive amount of water in the dam. It is suspected, however, as the National Geography wrote, that the earthquake in Chinese Sichuan (7.9 Richter) from 2008 caused a similar filling of the dam, but this has not yet been confirmed for sure.
Some scientists, on the other hand, believe that the human factor cannot cause such a large series of earthquakes, as happened in Turkey. As Jessica Turner, a geophysicist from the US Geological Survey (USGS), told USA Today, the earthquake in Turkey happened on a well-known fault in the Earth’s crust, and it would be very difficult for it to be caused by the human factor.
“Too much energy has been released, which current human activity is not capable of carrying out”.
Paul Caruso of the USGS told Lead Stories that the movement of the Earth’s ground in an earthquake is different than in an artificially induced earthquake.
“In earthquakes, you have expansion and contraction, instead of just expansion like an explosion. There is no evidence for such a thing (in Turkey)”, said Caruso.
3. Tectonic plates and earthquake areas
Although the Romanian parliamentarian brings the earthquake into the context of the global crises of the last three years (pandemic), to support the thesis that disasters are caused by powerful conspirators, earthquakes in this area are not a new phenomenon.
Namely, Turkey and Syria are located on the very composition of the Earth’s tectonic plates, the movement of which leads to some kind of friction and, consequently, earthquakes. In the picture below, you can see in which areas of the world the tectonic plates “meet”. Along these faults are also the regions where earthquakes occur most often (though not exclusively).
Historically, Turkey has been hit by numerous strong earthquakes over the decades and centuries, many of which were above 7 degrees on the Richter scale.
Earthquakes, as stated by the USGS, cannot be predicted, nor would it be reasonable to expect that such a thing would be possible in the future. Scientists, as they point out, can only calculate the probability that a significant earthquake will occur in a certain area during a certain number of years.
4. What to do in case of an earthquake?
Several smaller earthquakes have also occurred in Serbia these days, and so far, they have mostly been about those whose epicentre was in nearby Romania. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia (MUP) published a post on social networks with instructions on how to behave in the event of an earthquake.
Among other things, they state that the most important thing is not to panic and not try to run away but to get down on the floor, curl up and protect your head.
“Find shelter in safe places in the house: doorposts, load-bearing walls, a place under the table. Stay away from glass, windows, external walls and doors. Do not go out on the terrace or balcony. Turn off all sources of electricity, gas and water”, MUP stated.
Anyone who finds themselves outside should stay away from street lights, cables and buildings and all objects that can fall on the head, such as roof tiles, window panes.