One of the techniques that have been proposed to dispose high level nuclear waste (HLW) has been to bury them in deep geologic formations, which offer relatively enough space to accommodate the large volume of HLW accumulated over the years since the dawn of nuclear era. Albeit the relatively large number of research works that have been conducted to investigate temperature distribution surrounding waste canisters, they all abide to consider the host formations as homogeneous and isotropic. While this could be the case in some subsurface settings, in most cases, this is not true. In other words, subsurface formations are, in most cases, inherently anisotropic and heterogeneous. In this research, we show that even a slight difference in anisotropy of thermal conductivity of host rock with direction could have interesting effects on temperature fields. We investigate the effect of anisotropy angle (the angle the principal direction of anisotropy is making with the coordinate system) on the temperature field as well as on the maximum temperature attained in different barrier systems. This includes 0°, 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90°in addition to the isotropic case as a reference. We also consider the effect of anisotropy ratio (the ratio between the principal direction anisotropies) on the temperature fields and maximum temperature history. This includes ratios ranging between 1.5 and 4. Interesting patterns of temperature fields and profiles are obtained. It is found that the temperature contours are aligned more towards the principal direction of anisotropy. Furthermore the peak temperature in the buffer zone is found to be larger the smaller the anisotropy angle and vice versa. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.