Water in the Santa Cruz River

I was taking water samples from around Santa Fe Ranch’s property to establish what the local oxygen isotopes in the water looked like prior to sampling archaeological cattle and sheep tooth enamel from the site. Lo and behold, there was water in the Santa Cruz River, flowing north from Mexico, with some lovely cottonwoods in the background. It was so pretty, I stopped collecting water and snapped a picture. This picture was taken right below the outcrop where Mission Guevavi was built.

I should perhaps mention why this was special. The Santa Cruz is an intermittent, frequently dry river, and very rarely “flows” visibly these days. Decades of drilling wells have substantially lowered the local water table.

Santa Fe Ranch Foundation gave us a place to camp during the three years we held the field school at the site, and they do great work providing environmental and agricultural education in southern Arizona. The P.I.s of the field school were recognized for the project earlier this year. 


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