Submitted to: Association of American Geographers
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/14/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The popular image of wind erosion during the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s is of massive storms enveloping the region. Although such huge storms did occur, analysis of records maintained by the USDA Soil Conservation Service from 1937-1940 shows that during the latter part of the "Dust Bowl" (in parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) smaller and more localized dust storms were most typical.
Technical Abstract: The popular image of wind erosion during the "Dust Bowl" of the 1930s is of massive storms enveloping the region. While such storms did indeed occur, they apparently were not typical. Data were collected on blowing dust events throughout the region (parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas) by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service from 1937 to 1940. No comparable information is available prior to 1937, so the years of most severe wind erosion are not included in this analysis. These data suggest, though, that relatively small, localized blowing dust was the norm and that region-wide s were not common. A realistic image of the Dust Bowl, at least during its latter stages, should include many less intense and spatially isolated wind erosion events and a few highly intense and spatially extensive storms.