The Dust Bowl, also known as Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that caused major damage to American and Canadian prairie lands from 1930 to 1936.
It is also a term used to describe different locations that have lots of dust storms and get more periods of dry weather than do other places.
The U.S. dust bowl covers 50 million acres and includes part or all of the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, and the Dakotas.
Before the white man came to this area, it was a grassy plain that could survive a long time without rain. In 1885, settlers arrived, and they gradually turned the area into farms on which they grew wheat and raised cattle.
Over a period of years, this made the ground dry and dusty and left it too weak to go for long periods without water. There was no vegetation to keep the soil in place which dried, turned to dust, and blew away toward the east and south in large dark clouds.
Farmland became useless, and many people were forced to leave their homes.