Three-dimensional magnetic reconnection regimes: a review

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    124 Citations (Scopus)


    The magnetic field in many astrophysical plasmas - such as the solar corona and Earth's magnetosphere - has been shown to have a highly complex, three-dimensional structure. Recent advances in theory and computational simulations have shown that reconnection in these fields also has a three-dimensional nature, in contrast to the widely used two-dimensional (or 2.5-dimensional) models. Here we discuss the underlying theory of three-dimensional magnetic reconnection. We also review a selection of new models that illustrate the current state of the art, as well as highlighting the complexity of energy release processes mediated by reconnection in complicated three-dimensional magnetic fields. (C) 2011 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1508-1522
    Number of pages15
    JournalAdvances in Space Research
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2011


    • Magnetic fields
    • Magnetic reconnection
    • Magnetohydrodynamics
    • Quasi-separatrix layers
    • Parallel electric fields
    • Current sheet formation
    • Null points
    • Solar corona
    • 3 dimensions
    • Kinematic reconnection
    • Flux tubes
    • Kink instability
    • Aligned current


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