The Dust Bowl
College Preparatory English B
May 10th 2019
The dust bowl is an all-encompassing term describing the degradation and erosion of the soil in the great planes. During the 1920s people flocked to the great planes for free land and farming opportunities never had before. This lead to over farming and severe drought across the land. The causes of the dust bowl, some of the greatest storms and their aftermath, and work done to restore the planes to their former glory.
The dust bowl has been classified as one of the worst natural disasters in American history. While most of the causes are natural there are still several man made causes that contributed to the dust bowl. During the 1920s there were several Federal land grants put into effect including the Homestead Act, the Kinkaid Act, and the enlarged Homestead Act. While they are all different they had the same base principle, bring people to the unused prairie land in the great planes and reduce crowding in the cities. With these Federal acts millions flooded the planes and built houses and families there. With there being no other way to make a living other than farming, most took to farming wheat and other crops for a living. With the mass farming of the great planes came over farming. When the soil is not given enough time to replenish the nutrients that were taken from it to grow the food the land becomes unusable for planting. “During the great depression and the dust bowl over farming became a serious issue with the drop of wheat prices”(Becky Kellogg, The Dust Bowl: 2012 vs. 1930s). When the stock market crashed so did wheat prices, the main plant for farming, which caused farmers to plow even more of the land up exposing the soil underneath it. This coupled with the severe drought and “You had the perfect storm for a dust bowl”.
The name “Dust Bowl” was coined by an associated press reporter who, during the 1930s, reported on the severe and devastating storms that formed in the planes. These dust storms were large and highly dangerous, moving dust from the planes thousands of miles to the east and west coast. The worst of these storms occurred on April 12 1935. It was on this day that the largest and worst storm of the dust bowl would form traveling from the Oklahoma pan handle in to Texas and off to the coast. “High winds kicked up clouds of millions of tons of dirt and dust so dense and dark that some eyewitnesses believed the world was coming to an end.” (“Black Sunday" Dust Bowl storm strikes). These massive dust storms are formed when the ground is over plowed and over grazed. Without grass or shrubs to hold the ground together the dirt is swept up and away into these dust storms. Once the dust is airborne it remains suspended in a cloud much like water is before it rains. As the storm moves the dust follows entering...