Understanding mineral dissolution is relevant for natural and industrial processes that involve the interaction of crystalline solids and fluids. The dissolution of slow dissolving minerals is typically surface controlled as opposed to diffusion/transport controlled. At these conditions, the dissolution rate is no longer constant in time or space, an outcome observed in rate maps and correspondent rate spectra. The contribution and statistical prevalence of different dissolution mechanisms is not known. Aiming to contribute to close this gap, we present a statistical analysis of the variability of calcite dissolution rates at the nano- to micrometer scale. A calcite-cemented sandstone was used to perform flow experiments. Dissolution of the calcite-filled rock pores was measured using vertical scanning interferometry. The resultant types of surface morphologies influenced the outcome of dissolution. We provide a statistical description of these morphologies and show their temporal evolution as an alternative to the lack of rate spatial variability in rate constants. Crystal size impacts dissolution rates most probably due to the contribution of the crystal edges. We propose a new methodology to analyze the highest rates (tales of rate spectra) that represent the formation of deeper etch pits. These results have application to the parametrization and upscaling of geochemical kinetic models, the characterization of industrial solid materials and the fundamental understanding of crystal dissolution.
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