skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Structure and Dynamics of Three-Dimensional Magnetotail Reconnection

Abstract

In this study, we have used a global magnetohydrodynamic simulation and embedded particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation to analyze magnetotail reconnection in and near the electron diffusion region (EDR). Results from the magnetohydrodynamic simulation were used to set the initial and boundary conditions for the large-scale implicit PIC simulation. We examined proxies for the EDR (the nongyrotropy of the electron distribution function, slippage, and the nonideal terms in Ohm's law and the work done [J·E'] in the electron frame). The reconnection was well organized by the Bx = 0 surface. All of the proxies gave false positive values but together, along with the magnetic field Bz component and calculations of magnetic field lines, we were able to locate the EDR. Three of the proxies (the slippage, the nonideal terms in Ohm's law, and agyrotropy) give consistent results in the EDR. The EDR is structured and time dependent. Multiple EDRs aligned roughly parallel to the X axis extended from X ~ -31RE to X ~ -38RE with structure in the Y direction. There are regions with both J·E' < 0 and J·' > 0. Wave-like behavior with a scale of ~0.5RE or 2–3di develops in the reconnected plasma sheet. The structure is closelymore » related to strong electron flows in the YZ plane and to the density gradient at the outer edge of the plasma sheet. Finally, these results are consistent with expectations for the lower hybrid drift instability coupled with a shear-type instability such as the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. Similar results were found in a Harris sheet PIC simulation.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
  2. Katholicke Univ., Leuven (Belgium)
  3. Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA (United States); West Virginia Univ., Morgantown, WV (United States)
  4. Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO (United States); NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1544195
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1479508
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; 80NSSC17K0014; AGS-1450864; IAP P7/08 CHARM; NNX08AO48G; 80GSFC17C0018
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 123; Journal Issue: 10; Journal ID: ISSN 2169-9380
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; reconnection; MHD and kinetic simulation; magnetotail

Citation Formats

Walker, Raymond J., Lapenta, Giovanni, Liang, Haoming, Berchem, Jean, El-Alaoui, Mostafa, and Goldstein, Melvyn L. Structure and Dynamics of Three-Dimensional Magnetotail Reconnection. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2018JA025509.
Walker, Raymond J., Lapenta, Giovanni, Liang, Haoming, Berchem, Jean, El-Alaoui, Mostafa, & Goldstein, Melvyn L. Structure and Dynamics of Three-Dimensional Magnetotail Reconnection. United States. doi:10.1029/2018JA025509.
Walker, Raymond J., Lapenta, Giovanni, Liang, Haoming, Berchem, Jean, El-Alaoui, Mostafa, and Goldstein, Melvyn L. Sat . "Structure and Dynamics of Three-Dimensional Magnetotail Reconnection". United States. doi:10.1029/2018JA025509. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1544195.
@article{osti_1544195,
title = {Structure and Dynamics of Three-Dimensional Magnetotail Reconnection},
author = {Walker, Raymond J. and Lapenta, Giovanni and Liang, Haoming and Berchem, Jean and El-Alaoui, Mostafa and Goldstein, Melvyn L.},
abstractNote = {In this study, we have used a global magnetohydrodynamic simulation and embedded particle-in-cell (PIC) simulation to analyze magnetotail reconnection in and near the electron diffusion region (EDR). Results from the magnetohydrodynamic simulation were used to set the initial and boundary conditions for the large-scale implicit PIC simulation. We examined proxies for the EDR (the nongyrotropy of the electron distribution function, slippage, and the nonideal terms in Ohm's law and the work done [J·E'] in the electron frame). The reconnection was well organized by the Bx = 0 surface. All of the proxies gave false positive values but together, along with the magnetic field Bz component and calculations of magnetic field lines, we were able to locate the EDR. Three of the proxies (the slippage, the nonideal terms in Ohm's law, and agyrotropy) give consistent results in the EDR. The EDR is structured and time dependent. Multiple EDRs aligned roughly parallel to the X axis extended from X ~ -31RE to X ~ -38RE with structure in the Y direction. There are regions with both J·E' < 0 and J·' > 0. Wave-like behavior with a scale of ~0.5RE or 2–3di develops in the reconnected plasma sheet. The structure is closely related to strong electron flows in the YZ plane and to the density gradient at the outer edge of the plasma sheet. Finally, these results are consistent with expectations for the lower hybrid drift instability coupled with a shear-type instability such as the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability. Similar results were found in a Harris sheet PIC simulation.},
doi = {10.1029/2018JA025509},
journal = {Journal of Geophysical Research. Space Physics},
number = 10,
volume = 123,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {9}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 1 work
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

The effects of turbulence on three-dimensional magnetic reconnection at the magnetopause: TURBULENCE DURING 3D RECONNECTION
journal, June 2016

  • Price, L.; Swisdak, M.; Drake, J. F.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069578

Numerical simulations of separatrix instabilities in collisionless magnetic reconnection
journal, April 2012

  • Divin, A.; Lapenta, G.; Markidis, S.
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 19, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3698621

Three-Dimensional Dynamics of Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection in Large-Scale Pair Plasmas
journal, September 2008


A perfectly matched layer for the absorption of electromagnetic waves
journal, October 1994


Identifying the electron diffusion region in a realistic simulation of Earth's magnetotail: Identifying the EDR
journal, June 2016

  • Ashour-Abdalla, Maha; Lapenta, Giovanni; Walker, Raymond
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1002/2016GL069355

Intense perpendicular electric fields associated with three-dimensional magnetic reconnection at the subsolar magnetopause: INTENSE PERPENDICULAR ELECTRIC FIELDS
journal, June 2012

  • Pritchett, P. L.; Mozer, F. S.; Wilber, M.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 117, Issue A6
  • DOI: 10.1029/2012JA017533

Interplanetary Magnetic Field and the Auroral Zones
journal, January 1961


Quantifying gyrotropy in magnetic reconnection
journal, January 2016


Electron nongyrotropy in the context of collisionless magnetic reconnection
journal, September 2013

  • Aunai, Nicolas; Hesse, Michael; Kuznetsova, Maria
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 20, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.4820953

Two-Scale Structure of the Electron Dissipation Region during Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection
journal, October 2007


Observations and simulations of non-local acceleration of electrons in magnetotail magnetic reconnection events
journal, January 2011

  • Ashour-Abdalla, Maha; El-Alaoui, Mostafa; Goldstein, Melvyn L.
  • Nature Physics, Vol. 7, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1038/nphys1903

Inherently three dimensional magnetic reconnection: A mechanism for bursty bulk flows?: INHERENTLY 3-D RECONNECTION
journal, March 2003

  • Shay, M. A.; Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 30, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1029/2002GL016267

Current disruption during November 24, 1996, substorm
journal, April 2001

  • El-Alaoui, Mostafa
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 106, Issue A4
  • DOI: 10.1029/1999JA000260

Multi-scale structure of the electron diffusion region: STRUCTURE OF THE ELECTRON DIFFUSION REGION
journal, July 2007

  • Karimabadi, H.; Daughton, W.; Scudder, J.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 34, Issue 13
  • DOI: 10.1029/2007GL030306

Energy exchanges in reconnection outflows
journal, October 2016

  • Lapenta, Giovanni; Goldman, Martin V.; Newman, David L.
  • Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, Vol. 59, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0741-3335/59/1/014019

Substorm evolution as revealed by THEMIS satellites and a global MHD simulation: SUBSTORM EVOLUTION
journal, August 2009

  • El-Alaoui, Mostafa; Ashour-Abdalla, Maha; Walker, Raymond J.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 114, Issue A8
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009JA014133

Plasmoid-Induced Turbulence in Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection
journal, December 2012


Proton/electron temperature ratio in the magnetotail
journal, January 2011


Nonlinear evolution of the lower hybrid drift instability: Current sheet thinning and kinking
journal, May 2002

  • Lapenta, Giovanni; Brackbill, J. U.
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 9, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1464149

Geospace Environmental Modeling (GEM) Magnetic Reconnection Challenge
journal, March 2001

  • Birn, J.; Drake, J. F.; Shay, M. A.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 106, Issue A3
  • DOI: 10.1029/1999JA900449

The unexpected role of the lower hybrid drift instability in magnetic reconnection in three dimensions
journal, May 2003

  • Lapenta, Giovanni; Brackbill, J. U.; Daughton, W. S.
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 10, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1560615

Evidence for an Elongated ( > 60 Ion Skin Depths) Electron Diffusion Region during Fast Magnetic Reconnection
journal, December 2007


Multi-scale simulations of plasma with iPIC3D
journal, March 2010


The structure of the distant geomagnetic tail during long periods of northward IMF
journal, February 1995

  • Raeder, J.; Walker, R. J.; Ashour-Abdalla, M.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 22, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1029/94GL03380

THEMIS observation of multiple dipolarization fronts and associated wave characteristics in the near-Earth magnetotail
journal, January 2009

  • Zhou, Meng; Ashour-Abdalla, Maha; Deng, Xiaohua
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 36, Issue 20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2009GL040663

Linear theory of the current sheet shear instability: THEORY OF THE CURRENT SHEET SHEAR MODE
journal, May 2017

  • Fujimoto, Keizo; Sydora, Richard D.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 122, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1002/2017JA024079

On the 3-D structure and dissipation of reconnection-driven flow bursts
journal, June 2014

  • Drake, J. F.; Swisdak, M.; Cassak, P. A.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 41, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060249

Ion-ion kink instability in the magnetotail: 1. Linear theory
journal, January 2003


What Can We Learn about Magnetotail Reconnection from 2D PIC Harris-Sheet Simulations?
journal, May 2015


Kinetic simulations of x-line expansion in 3D reconnection: X-LINE EXPANSION IN 3D KINETIC RECONNECTION
journal, May 2006

  • Lapenta, Giovanni; Krauss-Varban, D.; Karimabadi, H.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1029/2005GL025124

The Geospace Environment Modeling Grand Challenge: Results from a Global Geospace Circulation Model
journal, July 1998

  • Raeder, J.; Berchem, J.; Ashour-Abdalla, M.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 103, Issue A7
  • DOI: 10.1029/98JA00014

Guide field dependence of 3-D X-line spreading during collisionless magnetic reconnection: X-LINE SPREADING
journal, October 2012

  • Shepherd, L. S.; Cassak, P. A.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 117, Issue A10
  • DOI: 10.1029/2012JA017867

The inner structure of collisionless magnetic reconnection: The electron-frame dissipation measure and Hall fields
journal, December 2011

  • Zenitani, Seiji; Hesse, Michael; Klimas, Alex
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 18, Issue 12
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3662430

A theoretical foundation of general magnetic reconnection
journal, January 1988


Nonlocal sausage-like instability of current channels in electron magnetohydrodynamics
journal, October 2001

  • Das, Amita; Kaw, Predhiman
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 8, Issue 10
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.1399059

“Illuminating” electron diffusion regions of collisionless magnetic reconnection using electron agyrotropy: ELECTRON DIFFUSION REGION AND AGYROTROPY
journal, June 2008

  • Scudder, Jack; Daughton, William
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 113, Issue A6
  • DOI: 10.1029/2008JA013035

Secondary reconnection sites in reconnection-generated flux ropes and reconnection fronts
journal, July 2015

  • Lapenta, Giovanni; Markidis, Stefano; Goldman, Martin V.
  • Nature Physics, Vol. 11, Issue 8
  • DOI: 10.1038/nphys3406

A new convection state at substorm onset: Results from an MHD study: SUBSTORM ONSET
journal, October 2002

  • Ashour-Abdalla, M.; El-Alaoui, M.; Coroniti, F. V.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 29, Issue 20
  • DOI: 10.1029/2002GL015787

A multiscale study of ion heating in Earth's magnetotail
journal, January 2016

  • Lapenta, Giovanni; Ashour‐Abdalla, Maha; Walker, Raymond J.
  • Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 43, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1002/2015GL066689

Theoretical models of magnetic field line merging
journal, January 1975


Construction of magnetic reconnection in the near-Earth magnetotail with Geotail: STRUCTURE OF RECONNECTION
journal, April 2011

  • Nagai, T.; Shinohara, I.; Fujimoto, M.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics, Vol. 116, Issue A4
  • DOI: 10.1029/2010JA016283

Sweet's mechanism for merging magnetic fields in conducting fluids
journal, December 1957


The structure of the electron outflow jet in collisionless magnetic reconnection
journal, November 2008

  • Hesse, Michael; Zenitani, Seiji; Klimas, Alex
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 15, Issue 11
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.3006341

A Multi Level Multi Domain Method for Particle In Cell plasma simulations
journal, April 2013


Fully kinetic simulations of undriven magnetic reconnection with open boundary conditions
journal, July 2006

  • Daughton, William; Scudder, Jack; Karimabadi, Homa
  • Physics of Plasmas, Vol. 13, Issue 7
  • DOI: 10.1063/1.2218817