Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spews ash and lava

Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano sent huge clouds of ash and smoke into the sky

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The Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador has been spewing lava and ash, covering villages hundreds of kilometres away with a white dusting.

The ash travelled as far as Loja province, on the border with Peru.

The volcano, which became active again in 1999 after a long period of dormancy, lies 135km (85 miles) south-east of the capital, Quito.

The latest series of eruptions began on Saturday with two moderate explosions followed by a third of greater size.

A cloud of ash and vapour spewed by the Tungurahua volcano can be seen from the city of Riobamba, Ecuador, on February 1, 2014 There have been three eruptions since Saturday
The Tungurahua volcano erupts in Banos on 1 February, 2014 Ash clouds reached a height of 8km (5 miles)

The blasts launched an 8km-high column of ash above the volcano.

The lava reached the Acupashal mountain pass, blocking the route to the town of Banos, local authorities said,

The authorities have declared an orange alert, the second highest, but the president of the Emergency Operations Committee, Hermuy Calle, said the activity was "simply a release of pressure", and that the volcanic activity was not expected to increase further in the coming hours.

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