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Powerful eruptions occurring at Ecuador volcano

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, December 4, 2011 18:58 EDT
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QUITO — There was no sign Sunday that eruptions at Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano would cease any time soon, geologists monitoring the activity said.

Experts with the Geophysical Institute (IG) said that since dawn “powerful roars and explosions sounding like cannon blasts” coming from the volcano could be heard in the area, rattling windows and shaking the ground in nearby towns.

Geologists also reported a columns “with a moderate to high load of ash” rising four kilometers (2.5 miles) above the crater. Ash was reported to have spread to a dozen nearby villages.

On Saturday, and again on Sunday, there were two eruptions in which the volcano spewed gas, ash and red-hot rock, with lava pouring some 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) below the crater.

The 5,029-meter (16,500-foot) volcano is located about 135 kilometers (84 miles) south of the capital Quito. The volcano has been active since 1999 but its thermal activity has steadily increased since November 27.

Eruptions at the Tungurahua, which means “Throat of Fire” in the indigenous Quechua language, peaked in 2006, killing six people in a village in Chimborazo province.

The Geophysical Institute on Tuesday recommended people leave high-risk areas around the volcano.

Several communities near Tungurahua, including the tourist town of Banos with 15,000 people, were forced to evacuate during the volcano’s violent eruption in 1999. Residents could only return to their homes one year later.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
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