On mass transport in porosity waves

22 May 2018

Porosity waves arise naturally from the equations describing fluid migration in ductile rocks. Here, we show that higher-dimensional porosity waves can transport mass and therefore preserve geochemical signatures, at least partially. Fluid focusing into these high porosity waves leads to recirculation in their center. This recirculating fluid is separated from the background flow field by a circular dividing streamline and transported with the phase velocity of the porosity wave. Unlike models for onedimensional chromatography in geological porous media, tracer transport in higher-dimensional porosity waves does not produce chromatographic separations between relatively incompatible elements due to the circular flow pattern. This may allow melt that originated from the partial melting of fertile heterogeneities or fluid produced during metamorphism to retain distinct geochemical signatures as they rise buoyantly towards the surface.