A volcano spewed a 7-km-long ash plume, spreading the ash cloud in some towns near the volcano, the Ecuadorian Geophysics Institute (IG) said on Wednesday.

The eruption occurred at 6:12 a.m. local time (1112 GMT), and "the sound of the eruption was heard in the towns near the volcano, even in Banos and Guadalupe, 14 km from the volcano," the IG said.

The 5,016-meter-high Tungurahua Volcano is located 135 km south of the capital Quito. It began its eruption process in 1999.

The ash cloud traveled in south-west direction and thick ash fell at 06:31 a.m. local time (1131 GMT) in towns of Mapayacu and Manzano.

One and a half hours later the ash also fell over Guano and Riobamba.

The volcano also spewed small flows of lava at the north, northwest, west and southwest of its crater, which went down between 800 and 1,000 meters without affecting the inhabited areas, the IG said.

According to the IG, an increasing number of earthquakes were registered on May 17 in the "biggest" eruption in 2010.

"However, according to the historical behavior of the volcano, the current activity is considered low, but with increasing trend," the IG said.