Perchlorate (ClO4-) is ubiquitous in the environment. It is produced naturally by atmospheric photochemical reactions, and also is synthesized in large quantities for military, aerospace, and industrial applications. Nitrate-enriched salt deposits of the Atacama Desert (Chile) contain high concentrations of natural ClO4-, and have been exported worldwide since the mid-1800s for use in agriculture. The widespread introduction of synthetic and agricultural ClO4- into the environment has contaminated numerous municipal water supplies. Stable isotope ratio measurements of Cl and O have been applied for discrimination of different ClO4- sources in the environment. This study explores the potential of 36Cl measurements for further improving the discrimination of ClO4- sources. Groundwater and desert soil samples from the southwestern United States (U.S.) contain ClO4- having high 36Cl abundances (36Cl/Cl = 3100 ?? 10-15 to 28,800 ?? 10 -15), compared with those from the Atacama Desert (36Cl/Cl = 0.9 ?? 10-15 to 590 ?? 10-15) and synthetic ClO4- reagents and products (36Cl/Cl = 0.0 ?? 10-15 to 40 ?? 1015). In conjunction with stable Cl and O isotope ratios, 36Cl data provide a clear distinction among three principal. ClO4- source types in the environment of the southwestern U.S. ?? 2009 American Chemical Society.