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viscous fingering

1. n. [Enhanced Oil Recovery]

A condition whereby the interface of two fluids, such as oil and water, bypasses sections of reservoir as it moves along, creating an uneven, or fingered, profile. Fingering is a relatively common condition in reservoirs with water-injection wells. The result of fingering is an inefficient sweeping action that can bypass significant volumes of recoverable oil and, in severe cases, an early breakthrough of water into adjacent production wellbores.

Synonyms: fingering

See: injection well