Hydrology of Mountain Blocks in Arizona and New Mexico as Revealed by Isotopes in Groundwater and Precipitation
2. Materials and Methods
2.1. Study Area
2.2. Santa Catalina and Rincon Mts
2.3. Tucson Mts
2.4. Santa Rita Mts
2.5. Galiuro Mts
2.6. Mogollon Highlands
2.7. Sacramento Mts
2.8. Recharge Seasonality
2.9. Altitude Effects
2.10. Sampling and Analyses
3.1. Precipitation, Santa Catalina Mts
3.2. Altitude Effects at Annual Time Scale
3.3. Isotopes in Snow
3.4. Precipitation Intensity Effects
3.5. Groundwater, Santa Catalina Mts
3.6. Springs, Rincon Mts
3.7. Groundwater, Tucson Mts
3.8. Groundwater, Santa Rita Mts
3.9. Groundwater, Galiuro Mts
3.10. Groundwater Mogollon Highlands
3.11. Groundwater, Sacramento Mts
3.12. Seasonality of Mountain-front Recharge, Tucson Basin
4.1. Residence Times
4.2. Multiple Recharge Mechanisms
4.3. Seasonality of Recharge
4.4. Influence of Geology
4.5. Future Research
- In 1995–2004, precipitation at 2420 masl at PRS in the Santa Catalina Mts. had seasonal amount-weighted averages of (δ18O, δ2H) and LMWLs as follows: in summer (−8.3, −53‰), and δ2H = 7.0δ18O + 4.2; in winter, (−10.8, −70‰) and δ2H = 8.3δ18O + 20.1. Wetter months have lower (δ18O, δ2H) in summer, but higher (δ18O, δ2H) in winter.
- In 2008–2013, snow-bank samples defined a line δ2H = 9.0δ18O + 26.3; in 2007, isotope metamorphism gave rise to (δ18O, δ2H) values deviating strongly from this line.
- Long-term coefficients for isotope altitude effect (δ18O, δ2H) between Tucson and PRS are (−1.6, −7.7 ‰ per 1000 m) in summer, and (−1.1, −8.9 ‰ per 1000 m) in winter. Altitude effect was absent in 25% of seasons examined.
- Groundwater containing finite tritium predominates in all ranges studied except the Tucson Mts., and is interpreted as young groundwater, or mixtures containing young groundwater. Ancient groundwater, indicated by 14C and distinctive (δ18O, δ2H) data, is present in the Galiuro, Tucson, Rincon and Santa Rita Mts.
- Multiple recharge mechanisms of young groundwater are indicated by patterns of (δ18O, δ2H) data. The patterns are influenced by altitude, geology and mixing with ancient groundwater.
- Regional, zoned recharge mechanisms of neighboring alluvial basins  are present in the silicate mountain blocks. Winter-only recharge with evaporation occurs in the Mogollon Highlands and the Galiuro Mts. Infiltration of winter and summer infiltration from the wettest months, in various proportions, occurs below 1700 masl in the Santa Rita and Tucson Mts, and below 1400 masl in the Santa Catalina Mts.
- Additional recharge mechanisms include: (1) infiltration of both winter and summer precipitation in various proportions at high elevations in the Rincon and Santa Rita Mts., yielding (δ18O, δ2H) data plotting along high-altitude LMWLs; (2) Infiltration of high-elevation summer-dominant precipitation, with strong evaporation, in the Rincon Mountains; (3) recharge of water with (δ18O, δ2H) values below those of long-term mean winter precipitation above 1400 masl in the Santa Catalina Mts.; and (4) alternation of winter recharge with evaporation (dry years) and recharge of mixed winter and summer precipitation without evaporation (wet years) in the carbonate rocks of the Sacramento Mts.
- A complex interplay of isotope effects related to altitude, precipitation seasonality, precipitation intensity and groundwater age is responsible for the multiple patterns of isotope data.
- Assuming that mountain runoff from any altitude has an equal likelihood of reaching the basin floor, mountain-front recharge to alluvium in Tucson Basin consists of 50%–90% winter runoff from surrounding mountain blocks.
Conflicts of Interest
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Eastoe, C.J.; Wright, W.E. Hydrology of Mountain Blocks in Arizona and New Mexico as Revealed by Isotopes in Groundwater and Precipitation. Geosciences 2019, 9, 461. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9110461
Eastoe CJ, Wright WE. Hydrology of Mountain Blocks in Arizona and New Mexico as Revealed by Isotopes in Groundwater and Precipitation. Geosciences. 2019; 9(11):461. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9110461Chicago/Turabian Style
Eastoe, Christopher J., and William E. Wright. 2019. "Hydrology of Mountain Blocks in Arizona and New Mexico as Revealed by Isotopes in Groundwater and Precipitation" Geosciences 9, no. 11: 461. https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences9110461