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However, because of frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed (due in part to manmade erosion upstream), sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields, it also has the names China's Sorrow and Scourge of the Sons of Han.) is in the Book of Han written during the Eastern Han dynasty about the Western Han dynasty.
These subaqueous dams were unpredictable and generally undetectable.
Eventually, the enormous amount of water has to find a new way to the sea, forcing it to take the path of least resistance.
When this happens, it bursts out across the flat North China Plain, sometimes taking a new channel and inundating any farmland, cities or towns in its path.
The deadliest was a 1332–33 flood that killed 7 million people.
Close behind is the 1887 flood, which killed anywhere from 900,000 to 2 million people, and a 1931 flood (part of a massive number of floods that year) that killed 1–4 million people.
The cause of the floods is the large amount of fine-grained loess carried by the river from the Loess Plateau, which is continuously deposited along the bottom of its channel.
The sedimentation causes natural dams to slowly accumulate.
Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai province of western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province.
The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 mi) and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km (680 mi).
Its total basin area is about 742,443 square kilometers (286,659 sq mi).
Its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history.