Q:

When was the Dust Bowl?

A:

Quick Answer

During a period of drought in the 1930s, the Great Plains began to be known as the Dust Bowl. The plains had been overgrazed and overfarmed, leading to erosion of the topsoil in the previous decades. Due to this erosion and a drought that started in 1931, when wind started blowing, the soil was easily picked up and blown through the air.

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Full Answer

This resulted in dust storms and clouds called black blizzards, which removed most of the topsoil from the region. Without top soil, grass and plants were unable to grow, so cattle was unable to survive. The storms could short out engines from the static electricity produced, and the thickness of the storms made it difficult for people to breathe. Locusts became a problem, and people developed illnesses from the wild animals and inhalation of the dust. Roughly 60 percent of the population were forced to leave the Great Plains during this time.

People finally started to regain control over the Dust Bowl in 1935 when New Deal agencies created programs to replant the area to give the soil something to hold on to. These programs also captured rainwater and encouraged fallow farmland. The area was much healthier by 1941 but suffered similar issues throughout World War II.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When did the Dust Bowl start?

    A:

    The Dust Bowl began in the early 1930s. After favorable weather conditions throughout the 1920s, unusually dry seasons began in the summer of 1930 throughout the Midwest and the Great Plains.

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  • Q:

    How did the Dust Bowl impact the economy?

    A:

    The Dust Bowl was both a geographical location in the Midwest and a series of devastating droughts that crippled the economy in the 1930s by shutting down many farms and forcing farmers to leave in search of jobs that did not exist. The first of the droughts occurred when the Great Depression was underway, which meant work was scarce. Many former farmers ended up homeless.

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  • Q:

    What caused migration during the Dust Bowl?

    A:

    A drought in the 1930s made a significant region of the plains very dry. High winds blew the dust, which covered fields and homes and destroyed crops, making some ports of the region uninhabitable. Because farmers relied on the land, they had no crops to sell, and banks began foreclosing on farms. Many farmers felt their only option to was to travel west.

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  • Q:

    How many people died in the Dust Bowl?

    A:

    The exact number of deaths from the Dust Bowl remains unknown, but evidence suggests hundreds, even thousands, of Plains residents died from exposure to dust. The Dust Bowl claimed the lives of men, women and children, although children and the elderly were most susceptible to the harmful effects of the dust. The thick dust produced by the Dust Bowl also harmed plants and animals, leaving them dead in the aftermath.

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