What was the Dust Bowl? What caused the Dust Bowl? Dust Bowl facts

Let's check out our list of Dust Bowl facts to know more about the Dust Bowl, what was the Dust Bowl, what caused the Dust Bowl, dust storms. History and natural disaster facts

Dust Bowl Facts 

Dust Bowl facts

Dust Bowl


What was the Dust Bowl? The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the US and Canadian prairies during the 1930s. 


What caused the Dust Bowl? The Dust Bowl was causesd by severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion (the Aeolian processes). For the previous 10 years the topsoil of the Great Plains had been plowed deeply enough to destroy the deep-rooted grasses that would normally have helped to trap the soil and moisture, even during drought. This Dust Bowl destroyed millions of acres and as a result 10s of thousands of families were forced to abandon their farms.


Some of the reasons that the Dust Bowl occurred were over-farming, livestock over-grazing, drought and poor farming practices.


The drought came in three waves, 1934, 1936, and 1939–40, but some regions of the high plains experienced drought conditions for as many as eight years.


There were more than 100 million acres of land affected by the Dust Bowl.


There were 14 dust storms in 1932 on the Great Plains.


There were 38 dust storms in 1933 on the Great Plains.


More than 300,000 people moved to California during the Dust Bowl to start over because of the damage to land caused by the Dust Bowl.

Dust Bowl masks

Dust Bowl masks


Because of the Great Depression, many of the farmers who migrated to the cities to look for work due the Dust Bowl's destruction of their land could not find employment.


The Dust Bowl got its name in 1935 when an Associated Press reporter witnessed a dust storm and came up with the name.


The state of Nebraska only had 14.5 inches of rain in 1934, as opposed to the 20 inches it usually received. This caused a drop of 75% yield of corn crops.


The dust storms were so damaging to health that children were often sent home from school in order to prevent "dust pneumonia". The dust was so dangerous that some days the children were forced to stay overnight as walking home and breathing in the dust was a serious health hazard.


It is estimated that approximately two million people became homeless because of the Dust Bowl and the damage it did to their farms.

Dust Bowl abandoned farms

Dust Bowl abandoned farm


Approximately 6,500 people were killed during only one year of the Dust Bowl. They died while trying to hop on freight trains to get to other parts of the country to look for work.


The Dust Bowl is considered to be one of the worst ecological disasters caused by humans in history.

Dust Bowl facts

Dust Bowl facts


Approximately 2.5 million people left the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl. It may seem like a lot of people, but approximately 75% of the population affected did not move away. They chose to stick it out.


Drivers had to drag chains behind their cars during the Dust Bowl because dust storms cause high static electricity and the chains would ground the cars. This helped to prevent severe electrical shocks to people when they touched other people or objects.


People knew to brush the dust off their roofs. They didn't realize however that the dust had gotten inside and many attics collapsed because of the heavy build-up.


The Dust Bowl phenomena occurred again for five years in the 1950s. This time the drought was called the "Filthy Fifties".

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