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Related to Dust Bowl: Great Depression
Dust Bowl, the name given to areas of the U.S. prairie states that suffered ecological devastation in the 1930s and then to a lesser extent in the mid-1950s. The problem began during World War I, when the high price of wheat and the needs of Allied troops encouraged farmers to grow more wheat by plowing and seeding areas in prairie states, such as Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico, which were formerly used only for grazing. After years of adequate yields, livestock were returned to graze the areas, and their hooves pulverized the unprotected soil. In 1934 strong winds blew the soil into huge clouds called “dusters” or “black blizzards,” and in the succeeding years, from December to May, the dust storms recurred. Crops and pasture lands were ruined by the harsh storms, which also proved a severe health hazard. The uprooting, poverty, and human suffering caused during this period is notably portrayed in John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Through later governmental intervention and methods of erosion-prevention farming, the Dust Bowl phenomenon has been virtually eliminated, thus left a historic reference.
See D. Worster, Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s (1979); T. Egan, The Worst Hard Time (2005); K. Burns, dir., The Dust Bowl (documentary, 2012).
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dust bowl[′dəst ‚bōl]
A name given, early in 1935, to the region in the south-central United States afflicted by drought and dust storms, including parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, and resulting from a long period of deficient rainfall combined with loosening of the soil by destruction of the natural vegetation; dust bowl describes similar regions in other parts of the world.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
a semiarid area in which the surface soil is exposed to wind erosion and dust storms occur
the. the area of the south central US that became denuded of topsoil by wind erosion during the droughts of the mid-1930s
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005