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:

    Why did Great Plains farmers migrate to California in the 1930s?

    A:

    Great Plains farmers migrated to California in the 1930s because drought conditions and erosion-producing agricultural methods created the decade-long phenomenon known as the Dust Bowl. Because they were unable to survive in such an arid, hostile environment, many farmers left the region and journeyed to California to look for work.

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  • Q:

    What are interesting facts about the Dust Bowl?

    A:

    The Dust Bowl was the name of the Great Plains region of the United States during the Great Depression. The region went through a harsh drought that turned the land into a dusty, dry and cracked landscape. The drought lasted for three years and forced many residents to move.

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  • Q:

    Could the Dust Bowl have been prevented?

    A:

    While this was a sensitive topic in its day, many scholars agree that the Dust Bowl could largely have been prevented from happening. Scholars from the University of Illinois agree with the idea that the Dust Bowl tragedy occurred due to a combination of human and ecological factors, meaning it might not have been 100 percent preventable, but its effects could have been less severe with better farming practices.

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  • Q:

    What did the U.S. government do about the Dust Bowl?

    A:

    Franklin Roosevelt and the U.S. government had two responses to the Dust Bowl: creating agencies and laws to help alleviate financial burdens of migrants and farmers affected by the Dust Bowl; and addressing the environmental issues that created the Dust Bowl. Through the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration, they provided subsidies and purchased sub-prime land to give money to the farmers and restore grasslands to over-farmed wheat fields.

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