Ecuador volcano sends up towering cloud of ash

Ecuador volcano sends up towering cloud of ash
Incandescent lava bombs are ejected to the upper slopes of the volcano Tungurahua during an eruption as seen from Guadalupe, Ecuador, late Saturday, March 5, 2016.Tungurahua is 16,480 feet (5,023 meters) high and has been active since 1999.(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has been putting on a dramatic show, spewing lava from a cauldron-like crater and launching towering clouds of ash and gas.

The country's Geophysical Institute said Sunday the column of reached a maximum height of about 2 miles (3 kilometers) in recent hours, while it hurled blocks of glowing rock about a mile (1.5 kilometer) down its slopes.

The 16,480-foot (5,023 meter) peak is about 85 miles (140 kilometers) south of Quito, the capital, and close to the tourist center of Banos. It's been periodically erupting since 1999.

  • Ecuador volcano sends up towering cloud of ash
    The Tungurahua volcano spews a column of ash during an eruption seen from Huambalo, Ecuador, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Tungurahua is 16,480 feet (5,023 meters) high and has been active since 1999.(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
  • Ecuador volcano sends up towering cloud of ash
    Incandescent lava bombs are ejected to the upper slopes of the volcano Tungurahua during an eruption as seen from Guadalupe, Ecuador, late Saturday, March 5, 2016.Tungurahua is 16,480 feet (5,023 meters) high and has been active since 1999.(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
  • Ecuador volcano sends up towering cloud of ash
    Women play soccer as the Tungurahua volcano spews a column of ash during an eruption in Huambalo, Ecuador, Saturday, March 5, 2016. Tungurahua is 16,480 feet (5,023 meters) high and has been active since 1999.(AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)

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