- Open Access
Nonlinear evolution of plasmoid structure
Earth, Planets and Space volume 53, pages663–671(2001)
The plasmoid observed in the Earth’s magnetotail shows a wide variety of the complicated plasma structures that are not simply described by the standard Petschek reconnection model. The interaction of the plasmoid propagating tailward with the surrounding plasmas of the plasma sheet at rest may be important to understand the plasma sheet structure and the plasma heating observed in the magnetotail. The nonlinear time evolution of the plasmoid is studied by using a large-scale, high-resolution, two dimensional MHD simulation code. Several discontinuities/shocks are formed in association with magnetic reconnection: 1) a pair of the standard Petscheck-type slow shock waves emanating from the X-type neutral point, 2) the tangential discontinuity inside the plasmoid that separates the accelerated plasmas from the original plasma sheet plasmas, 3) the slow shock with a “crab-hand” structure surrounding the front-side of the plasmoid, 4) the intermediate shocks in the edge of the plasma sheet inside the plasmoid, and 5) the contact discontinuity inside the plasma sheet that separates the shock-heated plasmas from the Joule heated plasmas by the magnetic diffusion at the X-type neutral point. We also discuss how those plasma discontinuities/shocks structures are affected by the lobe/mantle plasma condition.
Birn, J. and M. Hesse, MHD simulations of magnetic reconnection in a skewed three-dimensional tail configuration, J. Geophys. Res., 96, 23–34, 1991.
Feldman, W. C., R. L. Tokar, J. Birn, E. W. Hones, Jr., S. J. Bame, and C. T. Russell, Structure of a slow mode shock observed in the plasma sheet boundary layer, J. Geophys. Res., 92, 83–94, 1987.
Gosling, J. T., D. N. Baker, S. J. Bame, E. W. Hones, Jr., D. J. McComas, R. D. Zwickl, J. A. Slavin, E. J. Smith, and B. T. Tsurutani, Plasma entry into the distant tail lobes: ISEE-3, Geophys. Res. Lett., 11, 1078–1081, 1984.
Hau, L. N. and B. U. O. Sonnerup, On the structure of resistive MHD intermediate shocks, J. Geophys. Res., 94, 6539–6551, 1989.
Hesse, M. and J. Birn, On dipolarization and its relation to the substorm surrent wedge, J. Geophys. Res., 96, 19,417-19,426, 1991.
Hones, E. W., Jr., Substorm processes in the magnetotail: Comments on ‘On hot tenous plasma, fireballs, and boundary layers in the Earth’s magnetotail’ by L. A. Frank, K. L. Ackerson, and R. P. Lepping, J. Geophys. Res., 82, 5633, 1977.
Hoshino, M., T. Mukai, I. Shinohara, Y. Saito, and S. Kokubun, Slow shock downstream structure in the magnetotail, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 337–347, 2000.
Ieda, A., S. Machida, T. Mukai, Y. Saito, T. Yamamoto, A. Nishida, and S. Kokubun, Statistical analysis of the plasmoid evolution with Geotail observations, J. Geophys. Res., 103, 4453–4465, 1998.
Machida, S., T. Mukai, Y. Saito, T. Obara, T. Yamamoto, A. Nishida, M. Hirahara, T. Terasawa, and S. Kokubun, GEOTAIL low energy partical and magnetic field observations of a plasmoid at XGSM = −142 RE, Geophys. Res. Lett., 21, 2995–2998, 1994.
Otto, A., K. Schindler, and J. Birn, Quantitative study of the nonlinear formation and acceleration of plasmoids in the Earth’s magnetotail, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 15,023-15,037, 1990.
Petschek, H. E., Magnetic field annihilation, NASA Spac. Publ., 425–439, 1964.
Saito, Y., T. Mukai, T. Terasawa, A. Nishida, S. Machida, M. Hirahara, K. Maezawa, S. Kokubun, and T. Yamamoto, Slow-mode shocks in the magnetotail, J. Geophys. Res., 100, 23,567–23,581, 1995.
Sato, T. and T. Hayashi, Externally driven magnetic reconnection and powerful magnetic energy converter, Phys. Fluid, 22, 1189–1202, 1979.
Scholer, M. and D. Roth, A simulation study on reconnection and small-scale plasmoid formation, J. Geophys. Res., 92, 3223–3233, 1987.
Seon, J., L. A. Frank, W. R. Paterson, J. D. Scudder, F. V. Coroniti, S. Kokubun, and T. Yamamoto, Observations of slow-mode shocks in Earth’s distant magnetotail with the Geotail spacecraft, J. Geophys. Res., 101, 27,383–27,398, 1996.
Slavin, J. A., E. J. Smith, B. T. Tsurutani, D. G. Sibeck, H. J. Singer, D. N. Baker, J. T. Gosling, E. W. Hones, and F. L. Scarf, Substorm-associated traveling compression regions in the distant tail: ISEE 3 observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 11, 657, 1984.
Terasawa, T., H. Kawano, I. Shinohara, T. Mukai, Y. Saito, M. Hoshino, A. Nishida, S. Machida, T. Nagai, T. Yamamoto, and S. Kokubun, On the determination of a moving MHD structure: Minimization of the residue of integrated Faraday’s equation, J. Geomag. Geoelectr., 48, 603–614, 1996.
Ugai, M. and T. Tsuda, Magnetic field-line reconnexion by localized enhancement of resistivity. Part 1. Evolution in a compressible MHD fluid, J. Plasma Phys., 17, 337–356, 1977.
Whang, Y. C., D. Fairfield, E. J. Smith, R. P. Lepping, S. Kokubun, and Y. Saito, Observations of double discontinuities in the magnetotail, Geophys. Res. Lett., 24, 3153–3156, 1997.
Wu, C. C., On MHD intermediate shocks, Geophys. Res. Lett., 14, 668–671, 1987.
About this article
Cite this article
Abe, S.A., Hoshino, M. Nonlinear evolution of plasmoid structure. Earth Planet Sp 53, 663–671 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03353286
- Magnetic Reconnection
- Plasma Sheet
- Contact Discontinuity
- Magnetic Island
- Slow Shock