- Huáng Hé' (Yellow River)
Periodically during the long history of human habitation in China, its course has changed radically after a great flood (six times during the period of recorded history). The second map below shows it as it has found an alternative path to the sea. Needless to say, it has earned its English nickname, "China's Sorrow."
- Approximately 4600 km.
Characteristics: Heavy burden of silt at all times, leading to its characteristic "yellow" or brown color, frequent extremely devastating floods, commercial importance for transportation and irrigation.
- Special features
- Due to its importance for commercial navigation, it has regularly been dredged when it has become too silted up to permit free passage of larger boats. The material dredged from the bottom was dumped at the edge of the river, raising the altitude of the banks and permitting more silt to accumulate than the previous time before dredging became necessary again. The result was that over hundreds of years the river came to be elevated over the plains. Under those conditions, when one bank of the river becomes breached under those conditions then all of the water coming from upstream will necessarily flow out onto the plain, and the damages are immense.
Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Chinese Language, entry 48904.320.