QUITO, Ecuador -- Ecuador's Tungurahua volcano has spewed 10-kilometre column of ash after a powerful, five-minute explosion that shot pyroclastic material onto its northern and northwestern flanks.

Ecuador's geophysics institute said Friday's blast occurred at 6:10 p.m. local time and was followed by a second, four-minute explosion and five lesser tremors.

The 5,023-metre volcano, nearly 140 kilometres south of Quito, revived on Feb. 1, with eruptions that affected a third of Ecuador's provinces and temporarily closed a regional airport.

Tungurahua has been erupting sporadically since 1999. In 2006, a pyroclastic cloud killed four people and left two missing.