loading page

Dendritic growth patterns in rocks: Inverting the driving and triggering mechanisms
  • +1
  • Chong Liu,
  • Victor Calo,
  • Klaus Regenauer-Lieb,
  • Manman Hu
Chong Liu
The University of Hong Kong
Author Profile
Victor Calo
Curtin University
Author Profile
Klaus Regenauer-Lieb
Curtin University
Author Profile
Manman Hu
University of Hong Kong

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

Author Profile


Mineral precipitation can form complex patterns under non-equilibrium conditions, in which two representative patterns are rhythmic Liesegang stripes and fractal dendrites. Interestingly, both patterns occur in the same rock formations, including various dendritic morphologies found in different rocks, such as limestone and sandstone. However, the underlying mechanism for selecting the vastly different mineral precipitation patterns remains unclear. We use a phase-field model to reveal the mechanisms driving pattern selection in mineral precipitation. Simulations allow us to explore the effects of diffusion parameters on determining the dendritic morphologies. We also propose a general criterion to distinguish the resulting dendrites in simulations and field observations based on a qualitative visual distinction into three categories and a quantitative fractal dimension phase diagram. Using this model, we reproduce the classified dendrites in the field and invert for the key parameters that reflect the intrinsic material properties and geological environments. This study provides a quantitative tool for identifying the morphology selection mechanism with potential applications to geological field studies, exploration for resource evaluation, and other potential industrial applications.
18 May 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
19 May 2023Published in ESS Open Archive