Talk:Yellow River

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Maps needed[edit]

The article desperately needs (1) maps of the various major paths of the river at various points in Chinese history and (2) a map of the changing coastline or at least total accumulation in the historic period. EB 1911 has one city coastal in the Confucian era and ~100 mi. inland by the 20th c. - (talk) 03:10, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Hear, hear. — LlywelynII 17:26, 21 October 2011 (UTC)


According to the Louisanna University, the length is 5,564 km in length. According to The British Museum, it is approximately 5,560 km in length. Another physics paper titled "Simulation of irrigation effect on water cycle in Yellow River catchment" also cited the length to be about 5,464 km. The sources seems to concur that the length is about more than 5,000 km in length. Does that mean the article that cited the length as 4,845 km (3,395 mi) inaccurate? --Horng Yih, Wong 00:50, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

There are two versions on the length of the river. In this page it is 5500 km long and in the river page it is 4,350 km long. Which one is correct? If it is 5500 km then it suppose to be the sixth longest river in the world. - Roscoe x 15:38, 30 Apr 2004 (UTC)
Both Encyclopedia Britannica, the french version of this entry and some research papers I have read give a length of 5464 km. Even more the external links cited for this article says the same. The reporting is not even factually correct so I am tagging the article. Since I'm rather new to editing, feel free to put something more appropriate but the point is, this article needs review.
Wang, Houjie, Zuosheng Yang et coll. "Interannual and seasonal variation of the Huanghe (Yellow River) water discharge over the past 50 years: ::Connections to impacts from ENSO events and dams." Global and Planetary Change In Press, Corrected Proof, ( )
In northern China, the Huanghe (Yellow River) is a major source of freshwater (...) for a total of 5464 km before debouching into the Bohai Sea, draining a basin area of about 752,000 km2
--Vincent Boulianne 20:32, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
The Vietnamese version of this article gives 5,463 km as the river's length, by the way. – Minh Nguyễn (talk, contribs) 06:33, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

Chinese character for 'River'[edit]

I've just noticed that the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) is literally the "long river" and that the Huang He is literally the "yellow river". Since they seem to share no character in common, are there multiple Chinese characters that are all best translated as river in English or are we just fudging the translations somewhat... in which case the qualification of said translations as "literal" is inappropiate. --Dante Alighieri | Talk 17:14, Sep 13, 2004 (UTC)

Jiang in general, is bigger than He. (At least, when it enters the ocean.) The problem is that in these two particular instances, historical naming takes precedence. Huang He was settled around Xi'an and Xiangyang (btw, why does Xi'an have that '?) at which point the river is not quite wide enough to be called a Jiang. On the other hand, the Yangtze was settled more in the east (Shanghai area), where it was wider. So it rated a Jiang. At least, that's how it was explained to me. -Vina 06:07, 14 Sep 2004 (UTC)
In the modern Chinese usage, vina is correct: "Jiang" usually is a bigger river than "He". But for the "Chang Jiang" and the "Huang He", they called so also has some historic origins. In ancient China, the rivers were neither called "Jiang" nor "He", but called "Shui". "Shui" literally means water. There still some rivers has an ancient name with "Shui", e.g, Hanshui. At that time, "Jiang Shui" was the name for the Chang Jiang and "He Shui" was the name for the Huang He. In other word, only Chang Jiang can be called "Jiang" and only Huang He can be called "He". Thousandes years later, the meaning of "Jiang" and "He" were generalized and now they can be used for any rivers. But Chang Jiang still holds the name of Jiang and Huang He still has the name of He.
The Huang He river waz a very large river and from waht i learned many people depended on it and so far az is goes it's still one of the bestb thing tha eva happed to them..on it,an d wit hotu it it waz very hard to leave....i learned all my imformation from my global class and from wat the teacher told us it was very hard to understand at first but then later it was almost like a game cuz u learn everything by dayz and by timing so it's not so difficult.....
"btw, why does Xi'an have that '?" To distinguish it from Xian, which is also a valid pinyin word. That is, Xi'an is two characters (one with pinyin Xi, one with pinyin an), while Xian is one character.Jbradfor 16:12, 16 May 2007 (UTC)
the existence of the apostrophe in xi'an is to identify it as a two syllable name, as distinct from the (very) common single syllable xian. If written with Chinese characters, the distinction is obvious.--Baoluo 02:31, 27 June 2006 (UTC)


The characteristics section needs cleanup. In particular, the silt statistics need units of tons per some unit time. The section is somewhat vague in other places and needs citations.

I've added time units which I presume are annual flows, which is the standard for discussing river silt loads (high seasonal flow variations in many rivers, including this one, render a daily number as misleading). I'll remove the cleanup tag. 02:19, 30 June 2006 (UTC)


Does the "listen" link refer to Cantosese, Mandarin, or there's no difference in pronunciation here? LMB

It's Mandarin.


I have noticed some problems with organization and redundancy in this article. In particular, the comment about "When the Yellow River runs clear" being equivalent to "When hell freezes over" appears twice, under "Name" and under "History and Culture." What do you guys think, should that be under the Name heading, Culture, or not at all? RedSkull619 04:02, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

General readability and Misc. Changes[edit]

I made a number of changes to make the text more readable. I also made the ranking match the List of rivers by length. The "Yellow River Hydrology Committee" apparently only occurs in the context of this article. The Chinese government web site calls it the "Yellow River Conservancy Committee" and it looks like it uses a different division of the river, but since I could not verify that one way or the other (without spending more time than I have right now), I left the sections as is. Perhaps some one can check out the Physical Geography page on the Yellow River Conservancy Committee website to figure out whether the division is the same as that given in the article. Bear475 02:51, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

"Drink until you Pop Day"[edit]

I removed the following text, which I'm pretty sure was silly vandalism:

It's also believed to have been formed after a Chinese holiday called "Drink until you Pop Day".

It was added by User: [1]. I've heard of strange mistranslations before with Chinese and Japanese (All your base are belong to us) and also terms that sound like mistranslations but aren't(Married Couple's Slices of Lung). This is why I wasn't 100% sure. Ufwuct 22:09, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

920 kg/m³[edit]

The intro claims that in 1977, the concentration reached 920 kg/m³. Water has a density near 1000 kg/m³. Assuming that the silt has an average density of about 2500 kg/m³ (it couldn't be too dense or it wouldn't be carried by the current for very long), 36.8% of the volume of each m³ of "river" would be sediment, while the mass of each m³ of "river" would be 1552 kg, which is about 1.55 times the normal density of water. While this seems highly unusual, I would love to have my suspicions proved wrong, as I think it would be very interesting. Also, I'm hoping that what ever source is found mentions the concentration at some representative part of the river (like the middle of the river downstream of the loess). Ufwuct 22:23, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

The average is "37 kg of sediment per cu m of water at the present time" I think what is meant is that if you take a cubic meter of river water and evaporate it you would get 37 kg silt. Likewise for the 920 kg/m, after evaporation you would have 920 kg silt. I did some searching for the source of the 1977 figure, but could not find an accessible source on the internet. Proper sampling would require some sophistication. Water in a quiet backwater might contain less silt than the average, for example. Fred Bauder 15:02, 17 February 2007 (UTC)
In Physics of Desertification By M. H. A. Hassan, Farouk. El-Baz, Farouk El-Bax at page 17 there is a statement that at Shanhaien (east of Xi'an) sediment has been measured at 46%. It does not specify weight or volume. Fred Bauder 15:25, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

Three Gorges Dam[edit]

Is this a second, lesser known three gorges dam on this river? The link goes to the big one on the Chang Jiang that was recently completed.Ngchen 04:24, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Context map request[edit]

It would be useful to show a context map. For people not familiar with the municipal geography of China, it's hard to see from the existing map that this river flows across half of the country. -- Beland (talk) 17:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Mongolian name[edit]


User:Sevilledade has several times reverted the insertion of the Mongolian names, giving as reasons "It could be several different rivers you are referring to.", "You'll have to gave a pretty good explanation on the talk page about why the Mongolian name should be put up there.", and "The reference you cited gave the name of Yellow River/Huang He in more than 50 languages; you can include all of them in the article if you like. But ask consensus on the talk page first.".

All that I can say is

  • It was not diffcult at all to find authorative sources for the Mongolian names.
  • the "pretty good explanation" for including the Mongolian name was already given in one of the recent edit summaries - literally "does the river flow through Inner Mongolia or not?" - the answer, is, of course, yes.
  • I think it is pretty common sense that not all (indeed, very few) of the 50 languages given in this source are relevant to this article. The Mongolian name, on the other hand, is used by one of the peoples who traditionally dwell by the river (for some hundreds of years, anyway), and, as mentioned above, the People's Republic of China has even named on of those provincial-level administrative subdivisions that the river flows through Inner Mongolia! The second source, btw. only gives the Mongolian names.

Therefore, I am restoring my version now. The relevant guidelines can be found at Wikipedia:Naming conventions (geographic names) (emphasis mine, the rationale for including the Mongolian name is btw. the same as for including the Chinese name):

  • Relevant foreign language names (one used by at least 10% of sources in the English language or is used by a group of people which used to inhabit this geographical place) are permitted and should be listed in alphabetic order of their respective languages, i.e., (Armenian name1, Belarusian name2, Czech name3). or (ar: name1, be: name2, cs: name3). As an exception to alphabetical order, the local official name should be listed before other alternate names if it differs from a widely accepted English name.
  • Alternatively, all alternative names can be moved to and explained in a "Names" or "Etymology" section immediately following the lead, or a special paragraph of the lead; we recommend that this be done if there are at least three alternate names, or there is something notable about the names themselves.
    • In this case, the redundant list of the names in the article's first line should be replaced by a link to the section phrased, for example: "(known also by several alternative names)". When there are several significant alternate names, the case for mentioning the names prominently is at least as strong as with two.
    • Once such a section or paragraph is created, the alternative English or foreign names should not be moved back to the first line. As an exception, a local official name different from a widely accepted English name should be retained in the lead "(Foreign language: Local name; known also by several alternative names)".

For examples with river names given in more than one language for certain countries, look to Rhine, Vltava, Nile, or Missouri River.

Yaan (talk) 14:26, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Of course your second source only gave the name in Mongolian, because it is the Chinese government's Mongolian language website for "China radio international". I don't see how that could become an argument or even reference. Most importantly, just based on common sense, the river does not across Mongolia, and I'm certain that not a single "reference" in the English language (hence this is an English encyclopedia) would use non-Chinese languages for the river. Also, do you see any other international Wikipedia articles on the Yellow River using non-Chinese names (the French version, German version...)? However, if you insist on using alternative names, make it informative.--Sevilledade (talk) 18:47, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
The single best way to solve "naming problem" is through consensus. You should wait for other users to comment on the naming issue.
Making a separate naming template could also resolve the issue.--Sevilledade (talk) 18:48, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Did you even read what I wrote above? The river flows through Inner Mongolia for a not really insignificant part of its course, and Mongolians have dwelled on its banks for centuries. Therefore, the name is entirely relevant per the guideline quoted above. In fact, there are still Inner Mongolians who speak Mongolian, and the language is actually official in that region, certain signs have to be bilingual (railway sign in a city on the yellow river), there are Mongolian schools etc.) so that makes it all the more relevant, especially since the translation is rather non-trivial. Your point about references in English is completely irrelevant here, even then it's worth pointing out that most English-language references actually do use a name in a non-Chinese language - "Yellow river" does not sound particularly Chinese, does it? I have come across an English language reference for Shar mörön and a German language one that at least mentions Hatan gol (the latter was a german version of Przhevalsky's "Mongolia, The Tangut Country and the Solitudes of Northern Tibet", so I guess it counts too) but this is also irrelevant here. What matters is that Mongolians traditionally live by this river, and therefore the Mongolian name is relevant to this article.
What guidelines other Wikipedias have is also rather irrelevant for an article on the English wikipedia (though "Gelber Fluss" and "Riviere Jaune" don't really sound like good Chinese either), and the Germans actually do have the Mongolian name. Last not least I don't really know why you reject China Radio International as a source, they probaby should know best what the name of the river is, shouldn't they?
There is no need for templates or for a conensus - the guidelines are very clear. Btw. I assume you are familiar with WP:POINT? Yaan (talk) 13:18, 7 March 2008 (UTC)
May I just point out to Sevilledade that Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region within the modern day mainland China, as compared to Mongolia, which is a different country. "Common sense" does not make the river not flow through Inner Mongolia. --tessc (talk) 20:17, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Former names[edit]

The Britannica (1878) article on China prominently mentions that the early course of the Yellow River in Kokonor (=Qinghai, also a former part of Greater Mongolia) was known as “Ah-urh-tan” or "Golden River". Presumably that's a transcription of "Алтан Гол", but maybe it's a peculiar Classical Mongolian form since Google mostly returns nonsense. In any case, we should include it and add redirects once we have a good source for the actual Mongolian form of the name. — LlywelynII 22:58, 13 August 2016 (UTC)

yellow river[edit]

I'm sure that the yellow river was in the chinese area and that yeah okay byee . Yes. The yellow river is in China ^^ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:23, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Direction of the River[edit]

I found 10 of the changes in the river flow and thier dates. Here's the link: [2] It might not be correct. hmm.

This is very hard for the people too. it hurt us alot. my son die from this as well. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:50, 27 October 2009 (UTC) -Supermonkey

Jasonxu98 (talk) 21:06, 20 December 2008 (UTC)jasonxu98

Yellow River found by I. P. Freely?[edit]

The article says that the river was found by I. P. Freely, but gives no citation. Also, it would be nice to have a short biography of such an important personage as Mr/Ms Freely in order for the encyclopedia to be complete.

After investigating with Google, I believe it is a scatological hoax. As such, I will be removing the sentence. If a real reference exists, feel free to add it back. Ngchen (talk) 05:00, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
/facepalm. — LlywelynII 17:22, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

Error in data[edit]

The drop percentage is listed as 0.01% in the upper reaches - surely this should be 0.1%? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:53, 28 July 2010 (UTC)


Over a period of 3-4,000 years - a very vague and lengthy period - it is wrong to state that there was the precise number of "1,593" floods. It would be more appropriate to say approximately 1,500 floods. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Delta & headwaters[edit]

The section on lower reaches should split off with a delta+estuary+outflow zone in the sea section. The section on upper reaches should similarly be split with a specific section on the headwaters and sources. (talk) 11:53, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

yellow river map[edit]

The map of the Yellow River is incorrectly altered.

Beijing is not on the coast, it is 170 km inland. Where it is presently indicated should be Tientsin. Thanks, — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:33, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Second longest river in Asia ?[edit]

Stated in the intro to be the second longest river in Asia, and 6th longest in world. The list of longest rivers has Nile, Amazon, Yangtse, Mississippi, Yenisei and Huang He 6th.

By any normal definition, Yenisei River system is in Asia and therefore Huang He would be 6th longest in the world and THIRD longest in Asia, behind Yangtse and Yenisei.Eregli bob (talk) 20:09, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

You're entirely right. Not sure why this hasn't been corrected before. (talk) 17:48, 16 July 2014 (UTC)

That is a good point Tong tsu shi (talk) 01:21, 10 February 2017 (UTC)

Map Reference - Luo River[edit]

Is the map correct pertaining to the location of the Luo River? The Wikipedia page on the Luo River says that it originates in Southwest China flowing through Lushi, Luoning, Yiyang, Luoyang, Yanshi, and joins the Yellow river at Gongyi. I followed the river on Google Earth and it appears to come from the Southwest. I see it at Luoyang and farther to the Southwest at the Guxian Dam/Reservoir. Thanks. VFF0347 (talk) 21:55, 3 September 2013 (UTC)


It's probably just an accident of the British bias in the {{convert}} template, but the current page is a bit wobbly. Fwiw, this edit established the usage of this page as American English. Kindly maintain it consistently pending a new consensus. — LlywelynII 18:24, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

First paragraph - second longest river[edit]

The first paragraph doesn't make sense. It claims this is the second longest river in Asia - following two other rivers. Following two other rivers would possibly make it the third longest but definitely not the second longest. Lbthomsen (talk) 10:16, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

Someone fixed it. Art LaPella (talk) 22:59, 19 June 2015 (UTC)

Yellow River[edit]

The yellow river is actually yellow. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:02, 15 February 2016 (UTC)

Which is why loess is called "yellow earth" in Chinese. — LlywelynII 23:34, 22 October 2016 (UTC)


The article claims that the deposition of two millennia have made the riverbed meters higher than the surrounding land on its lower courses.

(a) Chinese efforts to control the river far predate the imperial era, which itself began well over 2000 years ago; but
(b) the lower course of the river is less than 200 years old and the deposition before that time has nothing whatsoever to do with the current stream.

So the statement makes no sense coming or going. Is it just something misremembered from history books explaining why the river repeatedly flooded? or is it an accurate description of the present situation based on less than 200 years of deposition and modern earthworks and dredging? — LlywelynII 23:34, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

Undue focus on environmental sinfulness in lead[edit]

Chinese loess is the most friable and erodible soil on earth. Yes, Chinese agriculture and Mongolian pastoralism had greater-than-zero effect on the desire of the river to flood its banks, but not any meaningful or noteworthy one. The floods were coming regardless; the man-made part was only inattention to the needful levee and diking system. (Some massive modern projects have contributed meaningfully to erosion, but after an era when the river was controlled enough that flooding has been far less destructive than before.) — LlywelynII 23:39, 22 October 2016 (UTC)

have you ever been to the Huang Hè river?[edit]

I have! Well I was born there, so my family was able to visit often. Tong tsu shi (talk) 17:56, 9 February 2017 (UTC)

What is the source for the coordinates of the river's source in the infobox?[edit]

I've been editing the area around the Yellow River headwaters over on Openstreetmap, and noticed that the location of the source of the river is different than the one we give here in the infobox, and I'm wondering which community is right. While it's only about 65km difference as the crow flies, it's in a different valley, so that translates to a few hundred km of waterways. Following the above link you can see what I mean (local names are used on OSM, so the Yellow river shows up as "黄河", the other waterways in question are w/o names. It's actually a bit tricky to see what's going on, because the streams are not shown when you zoom out. The coordinates do make sense, in that they are within a few metres of a major stream, that is joined by other streams to become a little river, and later joins with another river of similar size that OSM has labelled as 黄河, this is the confluence in question. OSM has the Yellow river as the one coming from the east, wikipedia's coordinates correspond to the one from the south. Anyone have any info? Keithonearth (talk) 04:01, 10 March 2017 (UTC)

An bit more info: The difference corresponds to almost 300km of waterways, with 127km of river incorrectly labelled as the Yellow River, and the remainder w/o a name tag, incorrectly not labelled as the yellow river. While compared to the overall length of the river this may not be much, I think it's still a significant difference. Keithonearth (talk) 05:52, 11 March 2017 (UTC)