San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Volcanic eruptions

Volcano in Ecuador spews ash column 5 kilometers high

A volcano in Ecuador spewed a column of ash five kilometers (3 miles) high on Friday, prompting officials to raise the alert level.

The ash was preceded overnight by two small explosions from the crater, the Geophysics Institute said on Twitter.

The Cotopaxi volcano stands 5,897 meters (19,500 feet) high and is located 45 kilometers (30 miles) south of the capital Quito.

The Geophysics Institute said Cotopaxi is one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world because of the large amount of snow at its peak and because nearby areas are densely populated.

The government’s emergency management agency raised the alert level in areas near the volcano to yellow, which is in the middle of the scale.

The Environment Ministry declared the volcano off limits to tourists.

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