The Dust Bowl was a natural disaster brought on during the 1930s by severe drought conditions, combined with poor farming and land use practices that depleted top soils of grass and moisture. This enabled strong winds to lift sand and dust into enormous clouds.

Ken Burns Dust Bowl documentary: 10 devastating photos of dust enveloping the Great Plains

The Dust Bowl was a natural disaster brought on during the 1930s by severe drought conditions, combined with poor farming and land use practices that depleted top soils of grass and moisture. This enabled strong winds to lift sand and dust into enormous clouds.

Storified by Digital First Media · Fri, Nov 16 2012 05:50:45

The disaster damaged millions of acres of farm land anddisplaced more than 2.5 million people. A two-part film by Ken Burnshighlighting 26 survivors airs from 8 to 10 p.m. EST Sunday andMonday, Nov. 18 to 19, on PBS.


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The Dust Bowl overtakes Stratford, Texas in 1935

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A dust storm stirs up in Kansas in 1935

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Masses of dust large enough to block the sun in Texas

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Approaching Big Spring, Texas in 1930 

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Dust buries a farm somewhere in the Great Plains in 1936

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Sand and dust heaped against fences in Oklahoma in 1938

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Grasshoppers invaded fields in the northern Great Plains

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Black dust in Prowers, Col., in 1937

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(Source: Kansas State University)

A farmer and his two sons head for shelter in Cimarron County, Okla.

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(Source: Kansas State University)