Thick clouds of dust rolled over the land. They blocked the Sun and turned day into night. The land was ruined, and the dust made people sick. Many died when dust filled their lungs. Thousands fled the area, never to return.
It sounds like fiction. Too bad it’s not. This photo was taken in Texas in the 1930s. Scenes like this happened in many places, not only in Texas, but also in Oklahoma and other southern Plains states. The area became known as the Dust Bowl. What caused this calamity? Plowing had broken up the natural prairie sod and turned over the bare soil. Lack of rain left the bare soil dry as dust. High winds carried the soil away. A lot of the soil blew all the way to the East Coast and ended up in the Atlantic Ocean. Billions of tons of soil were lost, much of it in just a few days.
How did this happen? Why were people so careless with the soil? How could the Dust Bowl have been prevented? In this chapter, you’ll find out.
Courtesy of NOAA George E. Marsh Album. www.photolib.noaa.gov/htmls/theb1365.htm. Public Domain.