When settlers came to the area, they built farms and planted crops. Their crops replaced the natural grasses in the area, which had root systems more capable of sustaining life under the difficult conditions.
In addition, the farmers grazed their animals over large areas and plowed entire fields at the end of each harvest. These factors also hurt the soil and were
causes of the Dust Bowl.
In 1890 and 1910, major droughts occurred. New and more severe droughts followed in the period 1926-1934. The condition of the area became even more fragile.
In 1934, windstorms covered the Great Plains. They easily uplifted the soil, blowing massive clouds of dust all over the plains.
Thousands of people were forced to leave their homes because of the Dust Bowl. 89 million acres of land were severely damaged or destroyed. The
Dust Bowl only served to make the Great Depression even more miserable.
Fearing a recurrence of the disaster, or that crop land would be destroyed forever, the United States formed the Soil Conservation Service in 1935. It worked towards improving soil conservation methods throughout the Great Plains area. Despite the quick and strong response, the Dust Bowl created many long-lasting problems and caused great suffering.