Computational simulation of seepage instability problems in fluid-saturated porous rocks: Potential dynamic mechanisms for controlling mineralisation patterns

C. Zhao, P. Schaubs, Bruce Hobbs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016 Elsevier B.V.Pore-fluid flow associated with seepage instabilities can play an important role in controlling large mineralisation patterns within the upper crust of the Earth. To demonstrate this process, two kinds of seepage instability problems in fluid-saturated porous rocks are considered in this paper. The first kind of seepage instability problem is caused by the temperature-induced buoyancy of pore fluid, so that it can be called the buoyancy-driven seepage instability problem, while the second kind of seepage instability problem is caused by chemical dissolution reactions that are commonly encountered in the upper crust of the Earth, so that it can be called the chemical-dissolution-driven seepage instability problem. After the mathematical governing equations of and computational methods for these two kinds of seepage instability problems are introduced, two numerical examples are used to elucidate how and why these two kinds of seepage instabilities can provide favorable places for the formation of large mineralisation patterns within the upper crust of the Earth. The related computational simulation results have demonstrated that: (1) the convective pore-fluid flow caused by the buoyancy-driven seepage instability not only can dissolve minerals at the lower part of the upper crust, but also can transport the dissolved minerals from the lower part to the upper part of the upper crust, resulting in large mineralisation patterns near the surface of the Earth's upper crust. (2) The chemical-dissolution-driven seepage instability in fluid-saturated porous rock can provide some favorable places, such as finger-like channels created by porosity enhancement in the porous rock, for the formation of large mineralisation patterns within the upper crust of the Earth.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)180-188
    JournalOre Geology Reviews
    Volume79
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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