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U.S. National Archives
dust buries car

Soil loss over wide areas is usually not natural. Most areas suffering soil loss once grew the soil that is now eroding.

The Dust Bowl years of the 1930s saw unprecedented erosion as drought hit newly plowed land across North America's Great Plains. Blowing dust buried roads, farms, and buildings, sometimes darkening the skies for days. Today the U.S. loses even more soil per year, largely to water erosion.