Xiaolangdi Dam Yellow River ChinaThe Yellow River, which flows through nine of China’s provinces, is historically one of the deadliest due to frequent large-scale flooding. In modern times, massive floods have been curbed by the invention of dams, but with that comes a different, equally startling scene.

Xiaolangdi Dam Yellow River China2These images are a result of annual cleaning efforts to remove 30 million tons of built-up silt on the riverbed at Xiaolangdi Dam in Henan Province. The dam stands at 154 m (505 ft), but is dwarfed by the massive plume of water and silt rocketing out of the dam’s three channels at a speed of 260 billion liters per second. The huge brown cloud threatens to engulf nearby onlookers who have come to view this annual spectacle. When man tries to harness the power of nature, the results can be incredible:

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Source: DDN Japan