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FACT CHECK:  No ‘mountains of gold’ found as Euphrates River dries up


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FACT CHECK:  No ‘mountains of gold’ found as Euphrates River dries up
Though news reports confirm that the river is at risk of drying up, there is no evidence of gold deposits being discovered in the area

Claim: Gold deposits have been found on the Euphrates riverbed as the river dries up.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video bearing the claim was posted by a religious Filipino channel with 250,000 subscribers. As of writing, the video has 171,000 views and 4,900 likes.

The video’s narrator says: “Golden mountains ay nagpakita pagkatapos na ma-dry up ang Euphrates river.” (Golden mountains appeared after the Euphrates river dried up).

The title of the video also makes mention of the claim.

The facts: Though news reports do confirm that the Euphrates River is at risk of drying up, there are no articles substantiating the accompanying claim of “mountains of gold” being discovered on the riverbed.

Unrelated clips: The YouTube video does not show any authentic images of the purported “mountains of gold.” In fact, the video itself is nothing more than a series of stock footage or out-of-context clips stitched together to create the narrative of gold being found in the Euphrates. 

For instance, a clip in the video shows a group of people digging gold out of the ground; the accompanying narration implies that this occurred in the Euphrates River. A reverse image search of the clip, however, reveals that the scene did not occur anywhere near the Euphrates. Instead, the footage is from a two-year-old clip showing villagers in Luhihi, Congo digging up gold discovered in the soil of a nearby mountain. The clip is unrelated to the claim made in the YouTube video. 

Cradle of civilization: The Euphrates is the longest river in southwest Asia, flowing across Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. The river flows through the heart of the “Fertile Crescent,” a region in the Middle East that nurtured some of the world’s earliest civilizations

Over the years, the river has dwindled because of drought, the construction of dams, and water policies of the countries along its length. As temperatures increase due to climate change and human impact on the environment, there is a risk that it could dry up by 2040, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources.

Experts have warned of an impending humanitarian catastrophe in countries that depend on the Euphrates. According to the Associated Press, politics has also played a role in the water crisis, as Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq have pursued unilateral development of the use of the Tigris-Euphrates river basin.

Religious significance: The Euphrates has religious significance to both Christians and Muslims, whose doctrines consider the drying up of the river to herald the arrival of Judgment Day, or the end of the world.

Revelation 16:12 from the Bible, for example, states: “The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east.” A Hadith from the Islamic texts also refers to the Euphrates and its supposed gold deposits: “The hour will not come to pass before the River Euphrates dries up to unveil the mountain of gold, for which people will fight. Ninety-nine out of one hundred will die and every man amongst them will say: ‘Perhaps I may be the only one to remain alive.’”

Religious claims: The Filipino YouTube channel that posted the video has a history of spreading conservative, religious propaganda, often through videos that misrepresent real-world events as proof of either society’s moral decline or some foretold event supposedly from the Bible. 

Rappler has previously fact-checked claims from the YouTube channel, such as this one about the Bible supposedly predicting the US’ downfall. Miguel Batallones/Rappler.com

Miguel Batallones is a graduate of Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor. Learn more about Rappler’s fact-checking mentorship program here.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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