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Title: Fast magnetic reconnection supported by sporadic small-scale Petschek-type shocks

Standard magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) theory predicts reconnection rate that is far too slow to account for a wide variety of reconnection events observed in space and laboratory plasmas. Therefore, it was commonly accepted that some non-MHD (kinetic) effects play a crucial role in fast reconnection. A recently renewed interest in simple MHD models is associated with the so-called plasmoid instability of reconnecting current sheets. Although it is now evident that this effect can significantly enhance the rate of reconnection, many details of the underlying multiple-plasmoid process still remain controversial. Here, we report results of a high-resolution computer simulation which demonstrate that fast albeit intermittent magnetic reconnection is sustained by numerous small-scale Petschek-type shocks spontaneously formed in the current sheet due to its plasmoid instability.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research, Nagoya University, Furo-cho, Chikusa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601 (Japan)
  2. (JAMSTEC), Kanazawa-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 236-0001 (Japan)
  3. Department of Physical Science, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8526 (Japan)
  4. Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22486405
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 22; Journal Issue: 10; Other Information: (c) 2015 Author(s); Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; CURRENTS; MAGNETIC RECONNECTION; MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMICS; PLASMA; PLASMA INSTABILITY; RESOLUTION; SHEETS