30/11/2011 07:41 GMT

Ecuador Volcano Tungurahua Silently Spews Ash And Gas Two Miles High (Video)

Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano is spewing fire and ash more than 2.5 miles into the sky, and some communities have begun to evacuate voluntarily as the crater continues its fiery expulsion.

Authorities have upgraded the alert to orange, as Tungurahua, which means "Throat of Fire" in the indigenous language, is expelling rock almost a kilometre away. Volcanologists believe the thermal activity is increasing, monitoring red hot rocks and boulders rolling down from the mouth of the eruption.

This eruption is characterised by its volume: otherwise it is almost completely silent. The red hot gas and ash expelled from the craterous opening are making barely any noise. The angry red and violent expulsion of gases from the volcano offer a rare glimpse into the molten turbulence beneath the Earth's crust.

The volcano lies in the Andes, 84 miles south east of the country's capital. It has been active since 1999, when a violent eruption caused 15,000 people in the tourist town of Banos to evacuate their homes, only able to return a year later.