Severe dust storms in the United States

Throughout history, the American Great Plains region has been subjected to periodic droughts and long spells of below-average rainfall. In spite of this, American farmers have long treasured the western region for its fertility and continued high yields with little need for crop rotation. However, the continued production of a single cash crop and the destruction of topsoil through deep plowing led to the steady exhaustion and erosion of the soil. In 1934, a new and severe drought hit the Great Plains, this time triggering a series of dust storms that destroyed millions of acres of farmland and forced hundreds of thousands of people to leave the region in search of new homes. The dust storms lasted throughout much of the 1930s, giving the region a new name: the Dust Bowl.

Further Readings: 
  • NASA. "NASA Explains "Dust Bowl" Drought." Based on a research article, "On the Cause of the 1930s Dust Bowl," by Siegfried D. Schubert, Max J. Suarez, Philip J. Pegion , Randal D. Koster, and Julio T. Bacmeister in the March 19, 2004 edition of SCIENCE Magazine. doi:10.1126/science.1095048. View NASA version
  • Tobey, Ronald C. Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 1895–1955. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981.
  • Worster, Donald. Dust Bowl: The Southern Plains in the 1930s. 25th anniversary ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. First published 1979.