Beach in Iran is naturally red due to iron oxide soil

29 April 2024
What was claimed

A video shows a beach in Iran that has turned red due to severe weather.

Our verdict

This is misleading. The beach on Hormuz Island in southern Iran is usually red, even when the weather is mild, because of the high levels of naturally occurring iron oxide in its soil.

A video is being shared on social media with the claim that it shows a beach in Iran that has “turned” red due to “severe weather”.

In the clip, water which appears to be bright red is pouring across red ground and running off the edge of a small cliff which leads to what seems to be the edge of the sea.

The caption says: “Severe weather turned the beach red in Hormuz Iran… it’s Passover season.”

The footage has also been shared on Facebook with similar claims.

However, these claims are misleading. In fact, the video shows a naturally occurring phenomenon—and the colour of the beach itself is not caused by “severe weather”. 

The video was filmed on Red Beach on Hormuz Island off the coast of southern Iran—this image on Google Maps from February 2023 appears to show the same spot as the footage, with several similar landmarks visible.

The so-called ‘rainbow island’ is a tourist attraction due to its unusual geographical and geological features.

Images and videos from a number of different sources and time periods show the ground on Red Beach usually appears red even when the weather is mild.

The red colour is caused by the earth being naturally rich in iron oxide soil due to volcanic rocks on the island. The same iron oxide can also spread and mix with the sea water at the shore making the sea itself also appear red.

Red ochre—the red soil, also known as ‘gelack’—is an export of the region, used as a colouring for products such as cosmetics, and also in cooking.

In the video, rainwater is running off the beach and into the sea, creating the appearance of a bright red ‘river’. Parts of Iran have been hit by heavy rainfall since March, with more rain expected throughout April.

We often see miscaptioned videos and images circulating online. Our guides on identifying misleading images and videos can help you to check whether something shows what it claims to be.

Image courtesy of Fars Media Corporation

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