In the early hours of January 23rd, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck the Gulf of Alaska, prompting tsunami warnings and sending Alaskans scrambling to reach higher ground. Luckily, no tsunami occurred, and residents returned safely to their homes after a few hours. The earthquake did trigger some strange effects, however, causing well water levels thousands of miles away in Florida to both raise and lower. While this long-distance effect of seismic waves has been documented before, the Alaskan earthquake has also triggered a flurry of conspiracy theory speculation on social media. Due to the earthquake’s proximity to the ever-mysterious HAARP installation in Gakona, Alaska, many netizens have taken to wondering if the shadowy research facility might have triggered the earthquake.
They’re still more plausible than claims that some bearded old man in the sky caused it.
The epicenter of the earthquake was around 170 miles at sea off the coast of Kodiak, Alaska, which itself is around 600 miles away from the HAARP facility in Gakona. Not exactly a stone’s throw. Still, that didn’t stop many tin foil hatters from reaching their own conclusions about the connection between a rather frequent natural phenomenon and a supposed black research site. “Right By The #HAARP Facility… false flag?? #Weatherwarfare” wrote one Twitter user, while another asked “Does #deepstate have #earthquake weapon? What’s #HAARP? In #Alaska?” Many Twitter uses believe the earthquake was a test ahead of the intentional triggering of “the Big One” which will bring California crashing into the sea. Better go on that marijuana tourism trip before it’s too late.
A map of the epicenter, with tin foil hat marking HAARP’s location.
Conspiracy theories alleging connections between HAARP and seismic activity is nothing new. Since its opening in 1993, the ionospheric research facility has been a frequent target for conspiracy theories due mainly to the fact that it was funded by the US Air Force, the Office of Naval Research, and DARPA but today is operated by the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Is this just another example of conspiracy theorists seeking a comforting narrative that someone is in control when frightening random events occur, or could something nefarious actually be afoot? One thing is for sure: HAARP is weird. LikeX-Files weird. While I’m not convinced the facility could actually cause earthquakes, who knows what unforeseen consequences all that tampering with the ionosphere might cause?
Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.