Wormholing in anisotropic media: Pore-scale effect on large-scale patterns

R. Roded, P. Szymczak, Ran Holtzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
64 Downloads (Pure)


The formation of dissolution conduits by focused reactive flow (i.e., wormholing) in anisotropic media is studied using a pore network model. Simulations reveal a significant effect of anisotropy on wormholing dynamics and medium permeability evolution. Particularly, anisotropy controls wormhole competition and their characteristic spacing. It also affects the flow through the individual wormholes and their shapes, and consequently, shifts the optimum injection rate at which breakthrough is achieved at a minimal expense of reactant. For anisotropic media with low transverse pore conductivities, wormhole distribution ceases to be scale-invariant and pronounced side-branches develop.

Wormholing is further compared to viscous fingering in an anisotropic network, and other unstable growth processes of similar underlying dynamics. Despite several similarities, few important differences are identified. Our findings contribute to the understanding of wormholing in geological media and demonstrate how pore-scale features can fundamentally affect the emergence of large-scale morphologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021GL093659
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number11
Early online date9 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Roded, R, Szymczak, P & Holtzman, R 2021, 'Wormholing in anisotropic media: Pore-scale effect on large-scale patterns', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 48, e2021GL093659, which has been published in final form at https://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2021GL093659This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


  • Wormhole competition
  • Permeability evolution
  • Optimum injection rate
  • Pore network model
  • Unstable growth processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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