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Causes Of The Dust Bowl Essay

1004 words - 4 pages

Causes of the Dust BowlOne of the most devastating environmental crises that occurred in the United States was the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl began shortly after the Great Depression began in 1929 and lasted throughout the 1930's. It affected everyone, farmers and consumers alike, in its path negatively. The Dust Bowl of the 1930's was caused by four major factors: drought, climate misconception, poor land management, and most importantly, wind erosion.The first of the four major factors is drought. During the Dust Bowl and the 1930's there were four major periods of drought. The first lasted from 1930 to 1931, the second occurred in 1934, the third in 1936, and the last period of drought lasted from 1939 to 1940. The Great Plains had experienced periods of drought before and no major problems had occurred, so the main problem was that the farmers did not have enough time in between the periods of drought to recover because they were so close together. Another issue was that the droughts occurred at the same time as the economic downfall known as the Great Depression. This meant the farmers did not have the money to spend to help their crops. Also, many farmers simply believed that the droughts would end and that the rains would come soon as they had many other times in the 1900's (Drought).Climate misconception played a large role in the creation of the Dust Bowl as well. The misconceptions about the climate and the annual rainfall in the Great Plains first began in the nineteenth century when people first began to settle in the area. Many of these settlers believed that they would always get enough rain to grow healthy crops because they settled on the land during years with abnormally high amounts of rain. Another reason people believed that the land would always be good to farm is because they were fed propaganda by railroad companies and land boosters. Even though there were several periods of drought that occurred before the 1930's and the Dust Bowl, people were encouraged by the rains that always came soon after. The farmers' misconceptions of the climate and annual rainfall also affected the way they farmed the land (Causes).Poor land management is one of the two most important causes of the Dust Bowl. The farmers were not able to manage their land well because they were not aware of the different techniques they should have used on their farms in the Plains. One of the techniques that the farmers should have used was crop rotation. Crop rotation would have been a great help in keeping their soil in larger clumps, whereas when the farmers repeatedly planted wheat in the soil, the nutrients were used up and were not replenished. This caused the soil to break up into a dust-like consistency that made the soil easier to be swept away by the winds. Farmers also should have had a year round ground...

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