Video: 'Silent but violent' volcano erupts in Ecuador

Video: 'Silent but violent' volcano erupts in EcuadorA local carries on as normal as the Tungurahua volcano spews smoke and ash. Photo: AFP/Getty

Villages have had to be evacuated after a volcano near the country's capital started erupting.

The 16,480-foot (5,023-metre) Tungurahua volcano has an orange warning level, one below the highest red alert.

According to Ecuador's Geophysical Institute, increased activity that began Sunday is billowing columns of ash, sending superheated clouds of gas down the slopes and cascading hot rocks from the summit. It said: 'there has been a continuous output of incandescent material [including] the expulsion of incandescent boulders, rising more than 300m above the crater and rolling down all sides of the volcano.'

Video: 'Silent but violent' volcano erupts in EcuadorThe Tungurahua volcano spews ashes during an explosion as it is seen from Cotalo, Ecuador. Photo: AP

But what has really surprised scientists is the fact that the volcano is erupting so quietly. This, however, does not mean it is any less dangerous.

Relief agency the National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR) has prepared shelters in preparation for evacuation orders, telling the Daily Mail: 'Given the level of alert, populations located in risk areas such as Cusua, Juive, Palictahua and Manzano voluntarily evacuated to safer locations.'

The Tungurahua volcano erupted in 1999, when the tourist town of Banos was evacuated, while tourists and residents were evacuated last December when it reactivated.

Watch the latest (silent) eruption below:

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