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Stable isotope compositions of waters in the Great Basin, United States 2. Modern precipitation

Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres

By:
, , ,
DOI: 10.1029/2001JD000566

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Abstract

Precipitation was collected between 1991 and 1997 at 41 locations within and adjacent to parts of the Great Basin lying in California, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah. These samples were analyzed for their deuterium (??D) and oxygen-18 (??18O) contents. Separate collections were made of summer and winter season precipitation at stations ranging in elevation from -65 m to 3246 m. The ??D per mil values of stations that were closely spaced but at different elevations showed an average ??D decrease of approximately 10???/km rise in elevation. Data for all samples representing winter precipitation, when plotted on a ??D versus ??18O plot, fall close to the Meteoric Water Line (??D = 8 ??18O + 10); samples representing summer precipitation define a line of slightly lower slope due to evaporation of the raindrops during their passage from cloud to ground. Comparison of our 1991-1997 ??D data with those from the same three stations reported by an earlier study in the southeastern California shows seasonal differences ranging from 0 per mil to 19??? (average: 15) and annual differences ranging from 0 to 13 per mil (average: 2), illustrating the degree of annual and seasonal variability in this region. When contoured, the ??D values display gradients indicating a north to northwest decrease in deuterium, with values ranging from -60 to -125??? in winter precipitation and from -40 to -110??? in summer precipitation. These gradient trends can be explained by the predominance of air mass trajectories originating in the tropical Pacific, the Gulf of California, and (in summer) the Gulf of Mexico.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Stable isotope compositions of waters in the Great Basin, United States 2. Modern precipitation
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research D: Atmospheres
DOI:
10.1029/2001JD000566
Volume
107
Issue:
19
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article