Stable isotope values of hydrogen and oxygen from precipitation and ground water samples were compared by using a volumetrically based mixing equation and stable isotope gradient to estimate the season and location of recharge in four basins. Stable isotopes were sampled at 11 precipitation sites of differing elevation during a 2-year period to quantify seasonal stable isotope contributions as a function of elevation. Supplemental stable isotope data collected by the International Atomic Energy Association during a 14-year period were used to reduce annual variability of the mean seasonal stable isotope data. The stable isotope elevation relationships and local precipitation elevation relationships were combined by using a digital elevation model to calculate the total volumetric contribution of water and stable isotope values as a function of elevation within the basins. The results of these precipitation calculations were compared to measured ground water stable isotope values at the major discharge points near the terminus of the basins. Volumetric precipitation contributions to recharge were adjusted to isolate contributing elevations. This procedure provides an improved representation of recharge contributions within the basins over conventional stable isotope methods. Stable isotope values from wells and springs at the terminus of each basin were used to infer the elevations of precipitation important for recharge of the regional ground water flow system. Ancillary climatic, geologic, and stable isotope values were used to further constrain the location where precipitation is entering the ground water flow system. ?? 2007 National Ground Water Association.
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Distinguishing sources of ground water recharge by using ??2H and ??18O