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DBQ What Caused The Dust Bowl

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During the 1930’s a massive dust and sand storm hit the western horizon. Families across the nation were struck with the Depression, however, people living in the Southern Great Plains were not only affected by the Depression, but also by the 300 dust storms that destroyed their land. The three main reasons for the cause of the Dust Bowl were: the geography of the Southern
Plains, heavy machinery used to farm, and dry climate.
The main cause of the Dust Bowl was the geography of the Southern Plains. A sheepherder from texas said: “Grass is what hold the earth together” (Doc B). The grass in the
Dust Bowl region was not very tall, however, the grass and its roots were a barrier that kept the sand and soil in place. Wheat farmers plowed the short grass prairie to create wheat farms, therefore leaving the dirt exposed and unprotected when the strong winds struck.
The heavy farm machinery being used destroyed the plains and led to the Dust Bowl.
Farmers, like Fred Folkers, purchased a tractor that had the capacity of doing the job of ten horses (Doc C). With the new tractor, Folkers was able to produce a greater deal of goods than before. Unfortunately, Folkers’s tractor also increased the amount of shortgrass destroyed. The number of acres that were harvested between 1899 and 1929 doubled in eight Great Plains states
(Doc D). The new heavy machinery that Folkers and other farmers were using crushed the dirt and soil into smaller pieces that could easily blow into the air. The new machinery was stripping the plains of grass leaving the dry dirt unprotected and blown away by the winds.
The final reason for the cause of the Dust Bowl was dry climate. Western explorer, John
Wesley Powell, discovered the the minimum amount of rainfall needed for successful farming in the plains was 20 inches (Doc E). However, the average amount of rainfall for farmers in the

Southern Great Plains was only between 16 and 18 inches (Doc. E). The drought that struck the plains also made it easier for dry soil to be picked up and blown away and often times blown into peoples homes. People frequently had to sleep with washcloths over their noses during the storms to prevent them from breathing in the harmful dust and dirt (Doc A).
The geography of the Southern Plains, heavy machinery used to farm, and dry climate were all contributors that led to the Dust Bowl disaster. The freed soil caused children to die from dust pneumonia and loss of hope for rain caused farm families to leave the region and move to nearby states. Farmers learned strenuously the consequences of not knowing where and how to cautiously farm. If farmers had known how fragile the land was, it could have prevented the
Dust Bowl.

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