Measurement and analysis of dissolution patterns in rock fractures

Peter Erik Dijk, Brian Berkowitz, Yoseph Yechieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI) is applied to noninvasively measure flow and dissolution patterns in natural, rough-walled, water-saturated halite fractures. Three-dimensional images of water density and flow velocity acquired with NMRI allow quantification of the developing fracture morphology and flow patterns. The flow patterns are correlated strongly to the local apertures and the large-scale wall roughness. The correlations of the dissolution patterns to the fracture morphology, flow patterns, and mineralogical composition of the rock matrix are a function of the overall dimensionless Damköhler number. At high Damköhler numbers the dissolution patterns are dominated by the flow structure. In addition, at high Damköhler numbers buoyancy (stratified flow) becomes important. In such cases the dissolution patterns also depend on the Orientation and elevation of the fracture walls, resulting in preferential upward dissolution. At low Damköhler numbers the dissolution patterns depend mainly on the mineralogical composition of the rock matrix. These findings suggest that coupled flow and dissolution processes are much more complex and unpredictable than commonly assumed, even under simplified conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-1-5-12
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Dissolution
  • Flow
  • Fracture
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance imaging
  • Rock
  • Transport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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