Thread: The Dust Bowl

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  1. #1 The Dust Bowl 
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    Did anyone else watch Ken Burns' two day presentation, "The Dust Bowl"?

    Man, that was - and is - some serious stuff. The ins and outs are too lengthy to get into, but for me it was a real eye opener.

    It was caused by man; lasted for about 10 years; came back in minor form in the 1950's; and will come back in full force if the Ogala Reservoir is does not continuously provide a full supply of irrigation water for the crops. And the Ogala Reservoir is about half full.

    People and livestock died in those dust storms, and many, many had their lives shortened by "dust pneumonia". If it comes around again, I sure recommend watching....


    They recall the days turning black, the winds whipping through towns, taking with them the family's livelihoods, the soil on which they farmed. In those natural disasters, thousands died, but no one is sure just how many.

    Survivors of the dust storms of the 1930s tell their stories in Ken Burns' oral history documentary "The Dust Bowl" Sunday and Monday, Nov. 18 and 19, on PBS (check local listings).
    http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethe...kest-days.html
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  2. #2  
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    I got interested in it a few years back, and the more I learned about it, the more I was amazed at how little it is thought of today, such a horrifying event in our relatively recent history.
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    The films of it were really frightening; the sky turning black and the appearance of a whole mountain range moving toward you. It reminded me of one of the scariest images from 9/11, when the buildings collapsed and you saw the huge cloud of dust and debris come around a corner and head down the street toward you.
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    Senior Member Arroyo_Doble's Avatar
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    I watched it. Great show.

    My family is from rural Oklahoma. I was born long after this but my mother is a child of the Dust Bowl years. But they lived further south from Altus to Marlow.
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    That was back prior to the realized importance of windbreaks, cover crops and in some instances no till planting. not saying it couldn't happen again just it wouldn't be as widespread and damaging.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeus View Post
    That was back prior to the realized importance of windbreaks, cover crops and in some instances no till planting. not saying it couldn't happen again just it wouldn't be as widespread and damaging.
    Probably right. But the thing is, the buffalo grass is gone. And it took years and years to grow. Buffalo grass could withstand the wind, and could tolerate the 20 inches of rain per year, too, due to its looooong root system. Now, there are crops to cover the huge areas where buffalo grass has been removed, and that works fine as long as they get water.
    But if the wheat crops don't get water from the Ogallala Aquifer they'll dry up. There are plenty of resources around to read about the Ogallala Aquifer, and I've done some cursory reading; looked at some maps and stuff. It's like reading about Global Warming, though - you don't know what to believe.

    It was a perfect storm of unfortunate events that led to the dust bowl disaster in 1930. Wheat price went way too high during the 20s; farmers plowed more ground to make more money; price collapsed in 1930 because of over supply and Depression; farmers plowed even more to make up for low prices; drought set in and crop disappeared; drought lasted 10 years. You can see - take one element out and Oklahoma/Kansas area would have been fine.

    So yeah, it probably won't happen again. We should hope not.
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    I saw a documentary on this a few months ago and these guys were trying to re-create some of the things that happened in the Dust Bowl. One of which was sand on metal was causing static electricity. They blew sand on an old plow and sure enough, they touched a conductive material to it and it shocked. They also built houses similar of the time and blew dust into it and it just came flying through the cracks. They tried, as the people living in the time did, to wet strips of cloth with flour and water and covered the cracks and it did no good. I couldn't imagine living in that.
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  8. #8  
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJCardFan View Post
    I saw a documentary on this a few months ago and these guys were trying to re-create some of the things that happened in the Dust Bowl. One of which was sand on metal was causing static electricity. They blew sand on an old plow and sure enough, they touched a conductive material to it and it shocked. They also built houses similar of the time and blew dust into it and it just came flying through the cracks. They tried, as the people living in the time did, to wet strips of cloth with flour and water and covered the cracks and it did no good. I couldn't imagine living in that.
    There were comments by the old survivors about the huge amount of static electricity. They didn't dare walk up and shake hands, and would ground the car with a chain before they put a foot on the ground. It was kind of a different thing, but I remember seeing those chains dragging along underneath trucks when I was a kid in the 50's. By that time it was the tires that generated static electricity, though.
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  9. #9  
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    Does the film do justice to the guvmint being a major cause?
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  10. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starbuck View Post
    Probably right. But the thing is, the buffalo grass is gone. And it took years and years to grow. Buffalo grass could withstand the wind, and could tolerate the 20 inches of rain per year, too, due to its looooong root system. Now, there are crops to cover the huge areas where buffalo grass has been removed, and that works fine as long as they get water.
    But if the wheat crops don't get water from the Ogallala Aquifer they'll dry up. There are plenty of resources around to read about the Ogallala Aquifer, and I've done some cursory reading; looked at some maps and stuff. It's like reading about Global Warming, though - you don't know what to believe.

    It was a perfect storm of unfortunate events that led to the dust bowl disaster in 1930. Wheat price went way too high during the 20s; farmers plowed more ground to make more money; price collapsed in 1930 because of over supply and Depression; farmers plowed even more to make up for low prices; drought set in and crop disappeared; drought lasted 10 years. You can see - take one element out and Oklahoma/Kansas area would have been fine.

    So yeah, it probably won't happen again. We should hope not.
    Among the other things that have reduced the chances of a reoccurring dust bowl besides modern machinery are Genetically modified seed resulting in better germination & higher yields requiring less acreage , heartier seed stripping fewer/less nutrients from the soil, shorter growing periods requiring less precipitation and smaller amounts of and less harmful chemical fertilizers and disease prohibitors.
    The 21st century. The age of Smart phones and Stupid people.

    It is said that branches draw their life from the vine. Each is separate yet all are one as they share one life giving stem . The Bible tells us we are called to a similar union in life, our lives with the life of God. We are incorporated into him; made sharers in his life. Apart from this union we can do nothing.
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