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Title: Evolution of flux ropes in the magnetotail: A three-dimensional global hybrid simulation

Flux ropes in the Earth's magnetotail are widely believed to play a crucial role in energy transport during substorms and the generation of energetic particles. Previous kinetic simulations are limited to the local-scale regime, and thus cannot be used to study the structure associated with the geomagnetic field and the global-scale evolution of the flux ropes. Here, the evolution of flux ropes in the magnetotail under a steady southward interplanetary magnetic field are studied with a newly developed three-dimensional global hybrid simulation model for dynamics ranging from the ion Larmor radius to the global convection time scales. Magnetic reconnection with multiple X-lines is found to take place in the near-tail current sheet at geocentric solar magnetospheric distances x=−30R{sub E}∼−15R{sub E} around the equatorial plane (z=0). The magnetotail reconnection layer is turbulent, with a nonuniform structure and unsteady evolution, and exhibits properties of typical collisionless fast reconnection with the Hall effect. A number of small-scale flux ropes are generated through the multiple X-line reconnection. The diameter of the flux ropes is several R{sub E}, and the spatial scale of the flux ropes in the dawn-dusk direction is on the order of several R{sub E} and does not extend across the entiremore » section of the magnetotail, contrary to previous models and MHD simulation results and showing the importance of the three-dimensional effects. The nonuniform and unsteady multiple X-line reconnection with particle kinetic effects leads to various kinds of flux rope evolution: The small-scale flux ropes propagate earthward or tailward after formation, and eventually merge into the near-Earth region or the mid-/distant-tail plasmoid, respectively. During the propagation, some of the flux ropes can be tilted in the geocentric solar magnetospheric (x,y) plane with respect to the y (dawn-dusk) axis. Coalescence between flux ropes is also observed. At the same time, the evolution of the flux ropes in the multiple X-line reconnection layer can also lead to the acceleration and heating of ions.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2] ; ;  [3] ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [4]
  1. CAS Key Laboratory of Geospace Environment, Department of Geophysics and Planetary Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei (China)
  2. (China)
  3. Physics Department, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama (United States)
  4. Key Laboratory of Earth and Planetary Physics, Institute of Geology and Geophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22410327
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 5; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ACCELERATION; COALESCENCE; DISTANCE; ENERGY TRANSFER; GEOMAGNETIC FIELD; HALL EFFECT; HEATING; INTERPLANETARY MAGNETIC FIELDS; IONS; LARMOR RADIUS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; MAGNETOTAIL; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; TIME DEPENDENCE