Tritium and carbon-14 data in water from wells in the Mojave River and the Morongo ground-water basins in the western part of the Mojave Desert show recent recharge focused in the floodplain aquifer along the Mojave River. Older ground water was present in parts of the regional aquifer that surround and underlie the floodplain aquifer. Movement of water between the floodplain and the regional aquifers occurs near on the upgradient side of faults as water from the regional aquifer discharges to the floodplain aquifer and on the downgradient side of the faults where water from the floodplain aquifer recharges the regional aquifer. On the basis of carbon-14 ages, corrected for mineralogic reactions with aquifer materials, water from some wells was recharged more than 20,000 years ago. Geochemical data show ground-water recharge has gradually decreased as the climate changed since that time.
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USGS Numbered Series
Movement and Age of Ground Water in the Western Part of the Mojave Desert, Southern California, USA