QUITO, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Ecuador's active Sangay Volcano on Sunday registered a significant uptick in volcanic activity, including several strong explosions and ash emissions, the Geophysical Institute (IG) of Ecuador said.
Activity increased from 04:20 a.m. local time (09:20 GMT) with seismic tremors that were more intense than any "observed in the preceding months," the institute said.
Satellite images showed a large ash cloud rising up to 10 kilometers above the volcano's crater.
Sangay is one of the most active volcanoes in Ecuador and has been in constant eruptive activity since 1628, when it last erupted.
The volcano, located about 5,230 meters above sea level in an unpopulated region of the southern Amazonian province of Morona Santiago, began a new eruptive period in May of last year.
The provinces of Chimborazo and Bolivar, in the country's central Andean region, are expected to be the most affected by the potential accumulation of one to three millimeters of ash, "which is enough to affect agriculture," the institute said.
The National Risk and Emergency Management Service said in a statement that its monitoring units reported "strong volcanic ash fall" in several cantons of the provinces of Chimborazo and Bolivar, as well as in Guayas to the southwest and Los Rios to the west.
Local and regional "Emergency Operations Committees (COE) have been activated to coordinate response measures and delivery of humanitarian aid to the affected populations," the agency said. Enditem