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The 1930s were some of the driest years in American history. Eight long years of drought, preceded by inappropriate cultivation technique, and the financial crises of the Great Depression forced many farmers off the land abandoning their fields throughout the Great Plains that run across the heart of mainland United States. When the high winds came, it lifted the topsoil from barren lands and carried them in large choking clouds of dust for thousands of miles. Many dust storms started around the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma and touched adjacent sections of New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. But eventually the entire country was affected forcing tens of thousands of families to abandon their farms and migrate in search for work and better living conditions.

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A dust storm approaches Stratford, Texas, in 1935. Photo credit: George E. Marsh

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