Explosive instabilities: From solar flares to edge localized modes in tokamaks

Steven C. Cowley, Howard Wilson, Omar Hurricane, Bryan Fong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The mechanisms for the explosive loss of plasma confinement that occurs in solar flares, magnetospheric sub-storms, tokamak disruptions and edge localized modes remain largely unexplained. Modelling the rapid onset of such events provides a considerable challenge to theory. A possible explanation for these events, nonlinear explosive ballooning, is discussed. In this mechanism a narrow finger of plasma erupts from inside the plasma growing explosively and pushing aside other field lines - the instability spreads from a small region until it disturbs lines across a large section of plasma. The model predicts the observed features of some high β tokamak disruptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A31-A38
JournalPlasma Physics and Controlled Fusion
Issue number12 A
StatePublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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