– A volcano in central Ecuador has spewed up a column of hot ash and smoke 10 kilometers high, increasing fears of an eruption. Activity has been building at the Tungurahua volcano 130 kilometers south of the capital Quito since early February. On Friday (Saturday Australian time), experts reported a loud explosion that lasted for five minutes and an expulsion of ash. “For now ashfall is mild,” the National Secretariat for Risk Management said on Twitter. Tungurahua, which in the Quechua language means “throat of fire,” has been erupting since 1999. Tungurahua is one of eight active volcanoes in Ecuador, a country that is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire which makes it prone to seismic and volcanic events. In early February, a series of explosions rocked the volcano, spewing columns of ash into the air that reached as far as Quito. In 2006, six people died in a village destroyed by lava from Tungurahua. Multiple villages are located in the vicinity of the volcano, which stands 5029 meters above sea level. Extinction Protocol