Section of the U.S. Great Plains that extended over southeastern Colorado, southwestern Kansas, the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma, and northeastern New Mexico. The term originated after World War I, when the area's grasslands were converted to agricultural fields. In the naturally dry climate, overcultivation added to the effect of a severe drought in the early 1930s, when heavy winds blew the loose topsoil in “black blizzards” that blocked out the sun and piled dirt in drifts. Many farmers and ranchers left the region for California and elsewhere. The planting of windbreaks and grassland enabled the area to recover by the early 1940s.
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