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Ecuador's Tungurahua Volcano Erupts


Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano erupted Wednesday, spewing molten rock, smoke and ash into the air and forcing the evacuation of people living nearby.

There are no reports of any injuries or deaths, but officials warned that the eruption may spread ash across six of Ecuador's provinces. Authorities did not evacuate the nearby tourist resort of Banos, although they were monitoring developments.

The volcano has been rumbling and shooting out clouds of smoke since January. Volcanologists say they expect stronger activity from the mountain because it is in the middle of an eruption cycle.

Separately, authorities in Chile say the Llaima volcano in the south of the country has resumed activity, spewing a small stream of lava down its slopes Wednesday. The volcano erupted last month, forcing the evacuation of 150 people from its base. But officials say Wednesday's activity was more subdued.

Llaima in Chile and Tungurahua in Ecuador are among the most active volcanoes in those countries.

Ecuador's Tungurahua, which means "throat of fire" in the native Quechua language, is about 130 kilometers south of the capital, Quito. It has been active since 1999, when it erupted for the first time in 80 years.

In August 2006, an eruption of Tungurahua killed at least five people, destroyed villages and displaced thousands of people. Tungurahua stands 5,000-meters-tall.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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