Strong earthquake hits mine in northern Sweden

A strong earthquake shook the city of Kiruna and its iconic iron ore mine, one of the world's largest, on Monday, news wires reported. Sweden is not an area that normally experiences powerful seismic activity, but tremors due to mining activities are not uncommon. However, with a magnitude of 4.1 this was Sweden's biggest mining-related earthquake ever.

The quake in Kiruna on Monday morning could be felt around 20 kilometres away, said mine owner LKAW spokesman. "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 told media. "Even from an international perspective it's a large mine quake," Björn Lund, a seismologist at Uppsala University, said.

Thirteen people were down in the mine at the time, but no one was injured and they were all able to get out using cars. However, the quake temporarily knocked out the water pumps in the mine, which sparked concern that the mine would be filled with water which could in turn cause a power blackout.

Work in the mine remained suspended on Tuesday morning as 300 workers descended to survey the scope of the damage. Rock mechanic engineers first examined the mine on Monday to see if work would be able to resume. There is still ongoing seismic activity in the wake of the earthquake, with several aftershocks felt.

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