A waterfall is an area where water flows from a high vertical drop in the course of a river. Waterfalls can also be found on ice shelves or icebergs when meltwater flows over the edge of the structure. In several areas, waterfalls may only occur during the rainy seasons or when there are vast amounts of snowmelt. The depth and width of waterfalls vary from one region to another mainly due to the steepness of the physical feature that caused the waterfall and the amount of the flowing water. Waterfalls such as the Victoria Falls attract large numbers of tourists because of their unique beauty. The Hukou Waterfall is one of the unique waterfalls in the world since it is the largest yellow waterfall in the world. Due to its size, the Hukou Waterfall is often considered the only yellow waterfall in the world; however, there are other yellow waterfalls around the world such as the Dusun Kuning waterfall located in Bali.
The Hukou Waterfall
The Hukou Waterfall is China's second largest waterfall and it is typically 98 feet wide before the start of the flood season. After the flood season begins, the waterfall's width increases to about 164 feet. The Hukou Waterfall is located on China's Yellow River and is the largest waterfall along the river. The Hukou Waterfall is formed when the Yellow River flows between the Hukou Mountains. The mountains restrict the river's path reducing its width to between 66 and 98 feet. Due to the reduced width, the velocity of the water in the river increases abruptly. The river's water flows at high speed over a small opening in a cliff.
The Waterfall's Name
The word Hukou means flask mouth, a reference to the unique location of the Hukou Waterfall. As the water flows down the narrow opening, it looks similar to water flowing from a teapot. As the waterfall reaches the ground, it sends massive waves of smoke into the air which resembles the steam from teapots. Due to the great similarity between the waterfall and teapots, it got the name Hukou Waterfall.
Color of the Waterfall
The waters of the Hukou Waterfall are yellow due to the large quantities of sediments in the Yellow River. Research done by the Rice University indicates that the Yellow River transports nearly 20 times more sediment than what the previous models had indicated. Research suggests that the Yellow River carries almost 1.6 billion tons of silt every year. The main reason why the yellow river transports vast amounts of sediments is that nearly 95% of its energy is available to carry the sediments downstream unlike other rivers such as the Amazon or the Mississippi which use around 40 to 60% of their energy. The sediments usually cover vast distances because of their small size.
Tourism Along the Waterfall
The Hukou Waterfall is considered one of the top destinations for tourists in China due to its unique color and size. In 1991, the waterfall was included as one of China's 40 top national scenic spots. Data from tourist companies indicate that the Hukou Waterfall gets more than 100,000 visitors annually. Tourists mainly visit the Hukou Waterfall from April to May and from September to November.