A fully magnetohydrodynamic simulation of three-dimensional non-null reconnection

D. I. Pontin, K. Galsgaard, G. Hornig, E. R. Priest

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    33 Citations (Scopus)


    A knowledge of the nature of fully three-dimensional magnetic reconnection is crucial in understanding a great many processes in plasmas. It has been previously shown that in the kinematic regime the evolution of magnetic flux in three-dimensional reconnection is very different from two dimensions. In this paper a numerical fully magnetohydrodynamic simulation is described, in which this evolution is investigated. The reconnection takes place in the absence of a magnetic null point, and the nonideal region is localized in the center of the domain. The effect of differently prescribed resistivities is considered. The magnetic field is stressed by shear boundary motions, and a current concentration grows within the volume. A stagnation-point flow develops, with strong outflow jets emanating from the reconnection region. The behavior of the magnetic flux matches closely that discovered in the kinematic regime. In particular, it is found that no unique field line velocity exists, and that as a result field lines change their connections continually and continuously throughout the nonideal region. In order to describe the motion of magnetic flux within the domain, it is therefore necessary to use two different field line velocities. The importance of a component of the electric field parallel to the magnetic field is also demonstrated.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)052307
    Number of pages1
    JournalPhysics of Plasmas
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


    • Plasma magnetohydrodynamics
    • Plasma simulation
    • Plasma transport processes
    • Stagnation flow
    • Plasma jets


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