The Ecological And Environmental Effects Of The Dust Bowl

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The Dust Bowl

The Dust Bowl was a period of severe dust storms causing major ecological and agricultural damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936, however in some places it lasted until 1940. The Dust Bowl was caused by a severe drought also coupled with decades of extensive farming without crop rotation or other techniques to prevent erosion. Deep plowing of the top soil of the Great Plains had killed the natural grass that normally kept the soil in place and trapped moisture even during the period of droughts and high winds.
During the drought of the 1930’s with no natural anchors to keep the soil into place it dried and turned to dust, and blew away eastward, and southward in large dark clouds. At times the clouds blackened the sky reaching all the way to the East Coast cities such as New York and Washington D.C.
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Then beginning on May 9th 1934 a strong two day dust storm removed massive amounts of Great Plains top soil in one of the worst storms of the Dust Bowl. The dust clouds blew all the way to Chicago where dirt fell like snow. Two days later on May 11th the same storm reached cites in the east such as Buffalo, Boston, New York City and Washington D.C. That winter red snow fell on New England.
On April 14th 1935 known as Black Sunday twenty of the worst Black Blizzards occurred throughout the Dust Bowl, causing extensive damage and turning the day to night. It was so bad that people could not see five feet in front of them at certain points. Some roosters thought it was night instead of day and went to sleep during them. In 1937 the federal government began an aggressive campaign to encourage Dust Bowlers to adopt planting and plowing methods that conserve the soil. The government paid the reluctant farmers one dollar an acre to practice one of the new

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