Huang He River Facts: How Did It Get Its Name, Its Importance And More | Kidadl


Huang He River Facts: How Did It Get Its Name, Its Importance And More

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The Huang He river of China is symbolic of the country’s culture, rich history, and heritage.

This river starts at the mouth of the Bohai sea. The yellow river floods, and for flood control, there are various dams like the Maerdang Dam and Liujiaxia Dam.

There are various gorges as well. Namely, Yanguo Gorge, Liujia Gorge, and Bapan Gorge. This is the sixth-longest river system in the world. Its older Mongolian name was said to be the Black River.

This river water has many fish species. There are various tributaries of this river, like the Fen River, Tao River, and Wei River. The Wei River is the right bank tributary. The yellow river flows through many places and creates new lines of waterways, including Luo River, Qingshui River, Dawen River, and more. This river has lately got an increase of muddy water, hence it's also referred to the Yellow River. The Yellow River pollution is getting severe. Yellow River turtles that live in the river throughout major cities of western China and the Yellow River valley are in a critical state.

Apart from the geographical distinctiveness, the river has a number of other peculiarities. It was the birthplace of Chinese civilization and is regarded as the 'Cradle of Chinese Civilisation'. The location of the river is one of the most prosperous regions in China, propping up the tourism history and the economy. The river has also welcomed devastating disasters. Read along to know a few fascinating facts on this fierce river, which is also addressed as the Mother River of China and even the Sorrow of China!

The Ecology And Environment Of The Yellow River

The Huang He river surrounds northern China and treasures influential Chinese history. The river has the third-largest drainage basin in China. Ever wondered why Huang He river is called the Yellow River?

This is because the river carries yellow silt, giving the river a yellow-brown color. With the overflowing, the yellow residue stays back, making the river appear yellow! Here are a few of the environs that bank the river, which are a must-see for any tourist.

There are quite remarkable environs on the banks of this ferocious river of Huang He. The Sanjianguan Natural Reserve that literally translates to ‘Three Rivers Origin’, is situated in southern Qinghai. Yangtze River and the Lancang River join the Yellow River to form the natural reserve. This adds to the richness of the landscapes, including mountains, glaciers, lakes, and valleys.

The Hukou Waterfall, the second largest waterfall in China and also regarded as the muddiest in the world, is supplied by the Huang He River.

Qinghai Lake is the largest lake in China and is often referred to as a beguiling beauty by many visitors! The pristine lake has springs and snow-capped mountains fencing the lake. A sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists, the lake is again supplied by the mighty Yellow River.

The ecology and scenic environs of the Huang He river are marked not only by the waterfalls and the lakes but also by the vast Shapotou desert; which hosts camel trekking, dune buggy events, sand sledding, and more!

The Geography And Physical Features Of The Yellow River

Here are a few geographical facts about the ferocious river to feed your curious mind!

Huang He is the second largest river in China after the Yangtze River. With an approximate length of 340 mi (547.2 km), the river is the sixth-longest river system in the world. This ferocious river flows through nine provinces, originating from the lofty Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province, and drains into the Bohai Sea in Shandong province. The expansive river basin extends from east-west in 1180.6 mi (1900 km) and in about 1100 km from north to south; the expanse of the drainage area spread over 306951.2 sq mi (795,000 sq km).

The river has had innumerable geographical changes owing to climatic changes, man-made activities, erosion, and flooding, that have constantly reshaped the river. These have serious implications on the election of the riverbed and farming practices on the riverbank. There are three geographical divisions for the Yellow River; upper reach, middle reach, and lower reach.

The upper reach stretches about 2150 mi (3,460 km), hitting from the Qinghai province and traversing through the mountains, swamps, and grasslands of China to reach South of Hekozhen in the islands of Mongolia.

The middle reach extends for over 744.4 mi (1198 km) to reach Henan province. The middle reach of the river is characterized by the vast Loess Plateau. Along the middle reach, the river cuts the Loess plateau into two halves of Shanxi province to the east and Shanxi province to the west. The region also houses the Xiaolangdi Multipurpose Dam. The dam has been a boon to contain floods, irrigating the banks, and is also a major source of hydroelectricity.

The lower reach of the river stretches over 488 mi (785.4 km) and waters the Northern China Plain, finally draining into the Bohai Sea. The lower reach of the Huang He river is called ‘River above Ground’ because of the high elevation level. The high elevation is because of the silt and other deposits.

The Location And History Of The Yellow River

The Huang He river is deeply entrenched in the vivid history of China.

According to historians, the Xia dynasty was created around 2100-1600 BCE. However, there are no historical records of when tribes and villagers began occupying the riverine banks. Da Yu or Yu the Great was a mythological figure who was hailed for controlling the floods in the Huang He valley.

He was soon acclaimed to be the first ruler of the Xia dynasty. Following this, the dynasties that succeeded had their headquarters on the river banks. This paved way for Huang He valley as a flourishing center of culture, spirituality, and learning.

Yellow River Basin extends for around 1,180 mi (1,899 km) from east to west.

Hydroelectric Power Dams Along The Yellow River

There are a large number of hydropower projects banking on the river.

The Sanmexia Dam was set up in 1960 in Henan, Sanshenggong Dam in 1966, Qingtong Gorge hydroelectric power station in 1968, Lljiaxia Dam in 1974, Yanguoxia hydroelectric power station in 1975, Tianquiao Dam in 1977, and Bapanxia Dam in 1980.

The Lonyanxia Dam commenced its operation in 1992, Da Gorge in 1998, Li Gorge in 1999, Wanjiazhal Dam in 1999, Xiaolangdi Dam in 1999, Laxiwa Dam in 2010, Yangqu Dam in 2016, and Maerdand Dam in the year 2018. These dams have an average capacity of 5618 MW.

Yellow River Floods

The Huang He River is a huge blessing for the agricultural regions of China. However, the riverine banks are prone to frequent unpredictable floods, creating huge havoc and taking a toll on the agricultural farmers' produce.

These floods destroy the houses and crops along North China Plain, giving the river the title 'China’s Sorrow'. The Chinese have embarked with much effort to construct dams to control floods to a certain extent and to irrigate the banks effectively. The river banks sit alongside some of the oldest cities in China and major floods along the Yellow River were a cause of catastrophe in these regions.

The Yellow River faced a huge catastrophe with the 1887 floods. The elevated nature of the river, running between embankments and broad plains surrounding it resulted in this devastating flood claiming the lives of over 900,000 people. The flood is remembered even today as one of the most epic disasters in Chinese history. This is one of the deadliest floods ever recorded in world history.

Another major flood that hit the region was the Yellow River Flood of 1938. However, this flood was caused by unnatural events. The flood was ‘unleashed’ by the nationalist government of China during the Second Sino-Japanese War to prevent the Japanese forces from crossing the river and conquering the land. They, therefore, regard this as the largest act of environmental warfare in history.

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