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Volcano eruption spreads ash over one-third of Ecuador's provinces

Ash from a column thrown more than 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high by a series of explosions from Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has reached a third of the Andean country's 24 provinces.

The ash prompted authorities to suspend classes at some schools and temporarily close a regional airport on Sunday.

A series of 10 powerful cannon-like blasts shook the 16,480-foot (5,023-meter) volcano overnight and could be heard for miles.

Tungurahua is nearly 90 miles (140 kilometers) south of Quito.

Officials of Ecuador's geophysics institute said Monday that since Saturday there have been no pyroclastic flows, or fast-moving, super-hot and thus deadly fluidized masses of rock fragments and gases.

Tungurahua had been quiet since October before a new series of eruptions began late last week.