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The Great Hukou Waterfall

Located 165 kilometers west of Fenxi City, Shaanxi Province, and 50 kilometers east of Yichuan in Shanxi Province, the Hukou Waterfall is the second-largest waterfall in China after the Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou Province; it is, however, the largest waterfall on the Yellow River. The river narrows dramatically falling some 30 meters into a big stone pond, just like the neck of a bottle. It is therefore called Hukou, which means "mouth of a kettle."

As the world's only yellow waterfall, the Hukou Waterfall takes shape as the Yellow River flows through the Hukou Mountains on the Shanxi-Shaanxi border, its 250-meter-wide bed sandwiched between the canyons, and then abruptly narrows into a 30x50-meter basin.

The width of the waterfall changes according to seasons: Usually it is 30 meters wide, climbing to 50 meters during the flood season. When the Yellow River surges towards the Hukou Mountains, blocked by mountains on both sides, it becomes much more narrow -- about 20-30 meters. The water then speeds up with increasing waterpower and rushes down from the narrow mouth, forming a grand waterfall 15 meters high and 20 meters wide, as if it is being poured out from a giant teapot.

The most dramatic changes occur during the deep winter and early spring when the river surface is frozen. Sometimes the subsidiary falls freeze to form icicles, creating images of "crouching beasts" on top of the cliffs.

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