16 Jul 2013 07:54

QUITO, July 15 (BERNAMA-NNN-XINHUA) -- The Tungurahua Volcano, located in Ecuador's central Andean region, registered a major explosion on Sunday with a stronger eruption that spewed ash and rocks into the atmosphere, according to the Geophysics Institute of the National Polytechnic School (IGEPN).

The explosion caused a boom that could be heard in several cities, including Riobamba and Ambato in central Ecuador and Guayaquil in the southwest, and communities close to the volcano also felt ground tremors, said the IGEPN which is in charge of monitoring volcanic activity in a report.

The eruption scattered ash, rocks and other volcanic fragments into the sky, but due to cloud cover over the region it was impossible to determine how high the column of ash rose, the IGEPN said.

However, eyewitnesses said the ash could be seen as far away as the capital Quito.

The 5,016-metre-high volcano has been active since 1999, with alternating periods of increased activity and relative calm.