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Spewing Ecuadoran Volcano Prompts Evacuations December 10, 2010
Tungurahua volcano
Tungurahua volcano, spewing steam and ash after Saturday's increased activity subsided.
Explosive activity at Ecuador’s Tungurahua volcano sent nearby villagers fleeing their homes as the mountain spewed rocks, gas and ash above the Andes.

Authorities advise all those living within five miles of the mountain to evacuate.

Tungurahua, which means “throat of fire” in the local Quechua language, has been erupting off and on since it roared to life in 1999.

An eruption that year prompted authorities to forcibly evacuate the 15,000 residents of Banos. Ongoing activity kept them from returning home for a year.

An eruption in August 2006 left six people dead and hundreds of homes destroyed.

Saturday’s activity subsided after five hours of rumbling, but the Polytechnic Geophysics Institute warned that the mountain remained dangerous.

Photo: Polytechnic Geophysics Institute