Many semiarid and arid regions of the world are almost entirely dependent on groundwater for water supply, yet many of these aquifers were primarily recharged during the late Pleistocene. Here we show that new noble gas data record the high pulses of recharge to the Navajo Sandstone aquifer at Black Mesa, Arizona, between 14 and 17 ka, which was associated with the passing of the southern branch of the jet stream. Higher excess neon coincided with high water levels independently deduced from numerical modeling of groundwater flow and 14C data in previous studies. This development allows the use of noble gases not only as a tool to reconstruct paleotemperatures, but also as a new tool to reconstruct paleohydraulic conditions and to verify the conceptual and hydraulic assumptions of existing groundwater models.

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