Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In


First Advisor

Jeff A. Dorale


The stable isotopic composition of groundwater within a watershed in eastern Iowa was studied in order to understand how water moves through the system. Samples were gathered using multiple observation wells and pore water samplers and then analyzed to determine the δ18O and δ2H of each sample. Shallow pore water is much more variable in its isotopic composition than deeper water and seems to be more greatly affected by evapotranspiration, whereas groundwater below the water table appears to show a stable isotopic signature suggesting the integration of multiple rain events. Other samples of similar depths across the slope of a hill were also used to observe differences across the area. By observing changes over time in the signatures of these samples, it can be seen that the crest of the hill is most greatly influenced by infiltration from precipitation while the side of the hill is influenced more by throughflow. By combining stable isotope analyses, knowledge of the medium through which the water is moving and the general mechanics of a watershed, a more advanced understanding of how water interacts with and moves through the ground can be gained.


Groundwater, Hydrology, Pore Water, Stable Isotopes


vii, 44 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 39-44).


Copyright © 2017 Jake Bucklin

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Geology Commons