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Ecuador's 'Throat of Fire' erupts
Sat, 30 Apr 2011 06:36:10 GMT
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The Tungurahua volcano spews ash and stones during an eruption as seen from Cotalo, Ecuador, Friday, April 29, 2011.
In Ecuador, an active volcano, known as 'Tungurahua' or 'Throat of Fire' has erupted again, spewing ash as high as ten kilometers into the atmosphere.

Loud explosions shook the ground and rattled windows near the volcano, located some 130 kilometers southeast of the capital city of Quito on Friday.

The volcano hurled large boulders more than a mile in its powerful eruption that forced hundreds of residents to flee the area and officials to divert flights.

“The smallest blocks are the size of an automobile while the biggest reach the size of a truck, which cause impact craters up to 10 meters (33 feet) wide as they hit the flanks,” the Associated Press quoted Silvana Hidalgo, a scientist monitoring Tungurahua, as saying.

Schools were closed for the third consecutive day as ash showered down on a dozen towns in the sparsely populated area surrounding the 5,023-meter peak.

Tungurahua, one of the eight active volcanoes in the Andean nation, has been active since 1999. Though one of its strongest eruptions took place in 2008, it had already proved itself deadly, when at least four people were killed and thousands forced to evacuate during a series of eruptions, which took place in July and August of 2006.

Tungurahua's eruptions are mainly strombolian, or low-level. Since its 1999 eruption, the volcano has continued its seismic activities on a medium level.

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