An aerial view of the Kiruna iron ore mine, where the earthquake hit
© LKAB.com
An aerial view of the Kiruna iron ore mine, where the earthquake hit.
Sweden has recorded its biggest ever earthquake caused by mining in the Arctic.

The quake measured magnitude 4.1 and forced the Kiruna mine, which is more than 100 years old, to be closed until further notice.

It is not the most powerful earthquake in Sweden overall, with the record held by an earthquake in Sjöbo in southern Sweden that measured 4.3.

Thirteen workers were in the mine when the tremor struck just after 3am on Monday, but no one was injured and all workers were able to drive out, local media said. The mine was quickly evacuated and all work stopped.

The epicentre was 1.9 miles (3 km) from the town, which is located in northern Sweden inside the Arctic Circle.

Several people in Kiruna reported noticing a severe tremor.

Fredrik Björkenwall, spokesperson for mine owners LKAB, said the quake could be felt around 12 miles (20 km) away.

"When ore is mined, holes and cracks occur which cause great stress (to the bedrock). This one happened at 1,108 metres below the surface," he said.

The earthquake hit the mine, the world's biggest underground iron ore mine, in several places.

At 6am, LKAB reported that the quake caused rocks to crash into the mine and that there was still seismic activity at the site.

Work to clear the plant had begun two hours later, to get the water pumps running in the mine and prevent the water level from reaching the power plant, Aftonbladet said.

The danger of living so close to the mine has prompted a massive project to move Kiruna two miles (3.2 km) to the east over the next 20 years.

Some of the houses are being moved one brick at a time, earning Kiruna the nickname of the "millipede town".

Earlier this century, cracks began appearing in the ground in populated areas and LKAB said the fractures will only get worse as it attempts to access the more difficult-to-reach minerals.