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Ecuador Volcano Spews Rock, Hundreds Evacuated

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Bianca
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« on: February 06, 2008, 10:10:02 am »



Tungurahua volcano spews molten rocks and gas in Banos
early January 11, 2008 . Ecuador's volcano spewed molten
rock, gas and ash on Wednesday, increasing its activity
and prompting authorities to evacuate hundreds of
villagers living in the shadow of the mountain.

REUTERS/Guillermo Granja








                                        Ecuador volcano spews rock, hundreds evacuated





By Tedy Garcia
Wed Feb 6, 7:48 AM ET
 
BANOS, Ecuador (Reuters) - Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano spewed molten rock, gas and ash on Wednesday, increasing its activity and prompting authorities to evacuate hundreds of villagers living on the shadow of the mountain.
 
Tungurahua, which means "Throat of Fire" in the native Quichua language, is a volcano 80 miles south of the capital, Quito. It last erupted in August 2006 and has been rumbling and belching up rock, gas and ash since January.

"It was a really big shake coming from the volcano and that forced the civil defense to evacuate the population," said civil defense chief Roberto Rodriguez.

He said there were no reports of injured or dead, but some local authorities said ash and rock fragments showered some communities located on the slopes of the volcano.

Volcanologists expect stronger activity from Tungurahua because it is in the middle of an eruption cycle that began in 1999.

"This is an ongoing eruption and we still don't know the magnitude it could reach," said Hugo Yepes, the head of the country's Geophysics Institute.

Yepes said he would not rule out molten rock and ash reaching the resort town of Banos, where 17,000 people were forced to evacuate in 1999 after loud explosions and big clouds of ash blew out of its crater.

In 2006, streams of fast-moving molten rock and ash enveloped several hamlets tucked in the volcano's folds, killing four people, leaving two missing and forcing thousands to evacuate and lose their corn and potato crops.

Juan Salazar, the mayor of Penipe, a municipality near the volcano, said the Tungurahua sounded like "an old airplane turbine."

Poor farmer of nearby communities for months have defied the roaring volcano to tender their crops.



(Additional reporting by Alexandra Valencia, Carlos Andrade and Alonso Soto; editing by Doina Chiacu)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2008, 10:14:43 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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