Causes of the Dust Bowl
The dust bowl was a storm that affected the Canadian and American agricultural practices in the 1930’s. It was characterized by strong dust storms which caused a great destruction in the farms hence affecting outcome and worsening the great depression. The drought destroyed plants that held soil together, covered houses with dust as well as suffocating animals. The main cause of this dust bowl was changes in climatic conditions and agricultural practices as discussed below.
During the year 1930, there were great changes in the weather patterns over the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. The Atlantic Ocean became warmer than normal while the Pacific Ocean became cooler. Therefore, tis change in climate was sufficient enough to change the jet stream’s’ direction. Normally, the air current is known to carry moisture towards the great plains from the Gulf of Mexico and in turn, causes rain on reaching the Rockies. Hence, when the jet stream shifted to the south, rain never reached the great plains resulting to dry soil. Whenever the strong winds blew, they swept away the top soil causing the dust bowl.
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During the first world war, the agricultural prices became high hence forcing farmers to grow more crops for the military troops. The increased cultivation activities had adverse effects on the land leading to the dust bowl. Hence, the creation of farming spaces required ploughing and destruction of grass that held the soil layers together. Also, livestock was introduced back into farming and this worsened the situation due to overgrazing. Therefore, the first world war contributed a lot to the effects that led to the dust of bowl.
The farmers adopted a new method of farming for the purpose of increasing agricultural produce which involved the use of ploughs to dig the soil. As a result, continued ploughing of larges acres of land led to the weakening of the top layers of the soil making them both unproductive and prone to soil erosion. Also, the ploughing was done occasionally which contributed to weakening of the soil. Whenever the winds blew, the swept large amounts of the top soil hence causing a cloud of dust which went to the extent of covering houses and animals.
Also, the farmers kept large herds of cattle which ended up overgrazing the prairie grass that held the soil. Therefore, the topsoil became loose and vulnerable to the strong winds that blew across the plains. The strong winds swept away the top layers of the soil causing large amounts of dust storms which resulted to the dust bowl era. During the period when the lands were still covered by prairie grass due to less agricultural practices, then the strong winds did not cause any substantial damage to the region.
Concisely, the adverse weather conditions in conjunction with the changed farming practices played a substantial part in causing the dust of bowl. Soil erosion is the main trigger of dust storms as long as the loose soil lies in the path of strong winds. Therefore, measures should be taken in the environment to ensure that the soil remains intact to avoid the occurrence of other dust storms. The prevention of soils erosion can be done in the grass roots by ensuring that there are no adverse agricultural practices such as keeping large herds of cattle and continuous ploughing of the land. The “black Sunday” marked the day when the federal decided to take an action of stopping the dust storm because it had already caused harmful effects to the people who lived in those areas. Houses were covered by dust, animals died and a lot of people developed pneumonia.
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