Earthquake Swarm Continues

earthquakes Iceland

An earthquake swarm in Northeast Iceland which began on Saturday, March 23 is still ongoing, the Icelandic Met Office reports. The seismic swarm is located in Öxarfjörður fjord, some 6km (3.7mi) southwest of the town of Kópasker.

Around 2,600 earthquakes have been detected by equipment since the swarm began. Eight earthquakes of magnitude three or higher have been measured, the largest of which occurred on March 27 and measured M4.2. From March 27-29, the daily earthquake count exceeded 500 quakes per day, peaking on March 28 when 780 earthquakes were counted. From March 30 to April 1 around 100 quakes have been detected per day.

While the activity had been decreasing over the past weekend, there was an increase in activity yesterday, with the largest earthquake measuring M2.7.

Cameras to Protect Gyrfalcon Nests

Gyrfalcon chick

Nearly 20 cameras will be set up in falcon nesting areas in North Iceland to ward off would-be egg thieves, RÚV reports. Though gyrfalcons have been a protected species in Iceland since 1950, the Icelandic Gyrfalcon Centre reports that “nest predation” by humans, who steal eggs to sell them abroad, continues to be a problem.

The Icelandic Gyrfalcon Centre started limited camera surveillance of nests last year. The cameras went up later in the season, however, after egg-laying had already started. Now the centre aims to put up the cameras before egg-laying starts in mid-April to ward off even the earliest thieves. Ten of the cameras are on loan from an Austrian falcon enthusiast who wanted to help the centre due to his concern for Iceland’s falcon population. The other eight belong to the Gyrfalcon Centre.

Iceland Review Magazine: A day in the life of a gyrfalcon researcher

The surveillance is run in close collaboration with gyrfalcon specialist Ólafur K. Nielsen, who has been monitoring Iceland’s falcon population since 1981. Ólafur says last year was particularly productive for breeding among the birds, largely thanks to a rise in ptarmigan stocks, the falcon’s main source of food. Indications point to 2019 being good – and additional surveillance certainly won’t do any harm.

US Fund Invests ISK 5.6 Billion in Icelandair

Icelandair plane Keflavík

American hedge fund PAR Capital Management has bought an 11% stake in Icelandair Group, reports GlobeNewswire. The stake corresponds to an investment of ISK 5.6 billion ($47m/€42m). Icelandair has operated at a significant loss in recent quarters, but the recent bankruptcy of WOW air could present an opportunity for the airline to improve its financial situation.

The additional capital is expected to solidify Icelandair’s financial situation and better prepare it for growth in the near future. “PAR Capital Management is a great addition to our strong group of shareholders,” stated Bogi Nils Bogason, President and CEO of Icelandair Group. “We believe that a partnership with PAR Capital Management will bring substantial value to Icelandair Group. It is moreover pleasant to have this seasoned international investor share our belief in the prospects of the Company.”

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, PAR manages a US$4 billion (ISK 478 billion) private investment partnership. The firm has invested primarily in the digital media and travel industries since its founding in 1990.

Sónar Music Festival Cancelled Due to WOW Bankruptcy

Sónar Reykjavík 2013

Sónar music festival, set to take place in Reykjavík in three weeks has been cancelled, RÚV reports. Festival organisers say the main reason is WOW air’s bankruptcy, as many attendees and performers had booked their flights with the now-defunct airline. It remains uncertain whether the festival will be held next year.

Sónar Reykjavík’s seventh annual edition was scheduled to take place in Harpa concert hall April 25-27. The lineup included artists Jon Hopkins, GDRN, and Fatima Al Qadiri. WOW’s fall was a huge blow to the festival’s finances, as both performers and guests were relying on the airline for getting to Iceland.

The Sónar festival was first held in Reykjavík in 2013. It was an offshoot of the Sónar Barcelona festival, which was first held in that city in 1994. Though the festival website and Facebook page have yet to post information about the cancellation, it has been announced directly to performers and reported on by media.