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Water 2014, 6(2), 301-323; doi:10.3390/w6020301

Isotopes as Tracers of Water Origin in and Near a Regional Carbonate Aquifer: The Southern Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico

1
Geosciences Department, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
2
Newmont Mining Corporation, 1655 Mountain City Highway, Elko, NV 89801, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 16 January 2014 / Accepted: 24 January 2014 / Published: 28 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Tracers)
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Abstract

High-elevation groundwater sampled in 2003 in the Sacramento Mountains defines a line resembling an evaporation trend in δD-δ18O space. The trend results from recharge of winter precipitation into fractured limestone, with evaporation prior to recharge in broad mountain valleys. The same trend occurs in basin groundwater east and west of the range, indicating the high Sacramento Mountains as the principal regional water source, either direct from the limestone aquifers or from mountain-derived surface water. Tritium and carbon-14 indicate bulk residence times of a few decades in the high Sacramento Mountains and at Alamogordo, and of thousands of years south of Alamogordo and in the artesian aquifer near Artesia. Stable O, H isotope data fail to demonstrate the presence of Sacramento Mountains water in a saline aquifer of the Hueco Bolson (Texas). View Full-Text
Keywords: carbonate rocks; stable isotopes; groundwater/surface water relationships; groundwater recharge; USA carbonate rocks; stable isotopes; groundwater/surface water relationships; groundwater recharge; USA
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Eastoe, C.J.; Rodney, R. Isotopes as Tracers of Water Origin in and Near a Regional Carbonate Aquifer: The Southern Sacramento Mountains, New Mexico. Water 2014, 6, 301-323.

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