Stability analysis of a pressure-solution surface

Doron Gal, Amos Nur, Einat Aharonov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We present a linear stability analysis of a dissolution surface subjected to non-hydrostatic stress. A sinusoidal perturbation is imposed on an initially flat solid/fluid interface, and the consequent changes in elastic strain energy and surface energy are calculated. Our results demonstrate that if the far-field lateral stresses are either greater, or much smaller than the fluid pressure, the perturbed configuration has a lower strain energy than the initial one. For wavelengths greater than a critical wavelength this energy decrease may be large enough to offset the increased surface energy. Under these conditions, the perturbation grows unstably. If these conditions are not met, the surface becomes flat. The growth rate and wavelength of the maximally unstable mode depend on the mechanism of matter transport. We conclude that the instability discussed in this paper may account for the formation of stylolites and other pressure-solution phenomena, such as roughening of grain contacts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1237-1240
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number8
StatePublished - 15 Apr 1998
Externally publishedYes


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