Dendritic growth patterns in rocks: Inverting the driving and triggering
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
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.