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Lakes and Deserts Near Yellow River, China

38.6N 104.7E

May 6th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Lakes, Rivers

China - May 2nd, 2011

This image of China shows a wide bend in the Yellow River northeast of the Tengger Desert. In the full image, rows of sand dunes can be seen within the borders of the desert.

Also visible in the full image, at the bottom left, are two lakes: Qinghai Lake (larger, above) and a hook-shaped reservoir on the Yellow River (smaller, below).

Yellow River Crossing Loess Plateau, China

35.9N 109.3E

July 5th, 2010 Category: Rivers

China - June 2nd, 2010

China - June 2nd, 2010

The tan areas occupying most of this image are part of the Loess Plateau, also known as the Huangtu Plateau, in China. The plateau covers an area of some 640,000 km². Upon opening the full image, the Yellow River can be seen, yellowish in color from sediments as the name suggests, flowing vertically down the right side of the image.

Loess is the name for the silty sediment that has been deposited by wind storms on the plateau over the ages. Loess is a highly erosion-prone soil that is susceptible to the forces of wind and water; in fact, the soil of this region has been called the most highly erodible soil on earth. The Loess Plateau and its dusty soil cover almost all of Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu provinces, the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and parts of others.

The Loess Plateau was highly fertile and easy to farm in ancient times, which contributed to the development of early Chinese civilization around the Loess Plateau. However, centuries of deforestation and over-grazing, exacerbated by China’s population increase, have resulted in degenerated ecosystems, desertification, and poor local economies.

In 1994 an effort known as the Loess Plateau Watershed Rehabilitation Project was launched to mitigate desertification. Many trees were planted and nature is now reclaiming a portion of the Loess Plateau, as can be observed by the green areas. Results have also reduced the massive silt loads to the Yellow River by about one percent.

Yellow River Crossing Inner Mongolia, China – July 1st, 2010

40.7N 108.6E

July 1st, 2010 Category: Rivers

China - June 2nd, 2010

China - June 2nd, 2010

This image focuses on part of the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia, near the border with the nation Mongolia. The area appears mostly dry, although it becomes progressively greener as one moves eastward towards an area of hills and valleys.

A lake with a curved shoreline is visible in the upper left corner. Upon opening the full image, the Yellow River (Huang He) can be seen passing below the lake. The Yellow River, so named due to its yellow-tan color from the sediments it carries, is difficult to see in the thumbnail as it blends in with the dry, yellow-tan surrounding lands.

Northern Loop of Yellow River South of Lang Shan Range, China

38.2N 103.9E

May 11th, 2010 Category: Mountains, Rivers

China - April 28th, 2010

China - April 28th, 2010

Here, the northern loop of the Yellow River (Huang He) can be observed as it flows across Inner Mongolia, China. The place where the river curves, near the image center, is part of the district of Linhe, under the administration of Baynnur, south of the Lang Shan Range (visible parallel to the river).

The Yellow River is the second longest river in China and the cradle of Chinese civilization as the Nile is cradle of Egyptian civilization. It originates in Tibet—like the Yangtze, China’s largest river, and the Mekong River—and gets nearly 45 percent of its water from glaciers and vast underground springs of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau.

From Tibet it flows for 5,464 kilometers (about 3,400 miles) through Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, the border of Shaanxi and Shanxi, Henan and Shandong before it empties into Bo Hai Gulf in the Yellow Sea.

It is slow and sluggish along most of its course and some regard it as the world’s muddiest major river, discharging three times the sediment of the Mississippi River. It gets its name and color from the yellow silt it picks up in the Shaanxi Loess Plateau .

The Yellow River is a vital to making northern China inhabitable. It supplies water to 155 million people, or 12 percent of the Chinese population, and irrigates 18 million acres—15 percent of China’s farmland. More than 400 million people live in the Yellow River basin. Agricultural societies appeared on its banks more than 7,000 years ago.

Hohhot and Ordos Shi Near Daqing Shan Mountains, China

40.8N 111.7E

March 12th, 2011 Category: Deserts, Mountains, Rivers

China - February 18th, 2011

This orthorectified image shows the cities of Hohhot (top) and Ordos Shi (left), in north-central China’s Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region. Hohhot, the capital the region, is encircled by the Daqing Shan (meaning Great Blue Mountains) to the north and the Hetao Plateau to the south.

Ordos Shi, or Ordos City, is located within the Ordos Loop of the Yellow River. The city’s prefectural administrative region occupies 86,752 km² and covers the bigger part of the Ordos Desert, although the urban area itself is relatively small.