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.