Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl refers to the years 1930-1936, when severe drought and decades of soil mismanagement resulted in the largest population migration in United States history. Lack of crop rotation and deep plowing caused the loss of native grasses, top soil and extreme erosion. When winds storms were added to the mix, it meant disaster for the Plains States. As moisture was depleted from the soil, it turned to dust and high winds carried it east and into the Atlantic Ocean. Dirt fell like snow in Chicago and one winter in New England, red snow fell. 100,000,000 acres of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico and Kansas were affected, and by 1940, 2.5 million people had migrated away from their homes, with 200,000 heading to California. Coinciding with the Great Depression, the two have become synonymous in many people's minds.

The picture above shows a dust storm in Texas. The picture below shows a father and his two sons in April, 1936 in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, with what is left of their farm and home.

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