Impulsive magnetic reconnection in the Earth's magnetotail and the solar corona

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Impulsive reconnection dynamics is characterized not only by fast growth but also by a sudden change in the time derivative of the growth rate. I review recent developments in the theory and simulation of forced impulsive reconnection based on the equations of resistive and Hall magnetohydrodynamics (MHD). Impulsive reconnection can be realized in resistive as well as Hall MHD by the imposition of suitable boundary conditions. However, compared with resistive MHD, Hall MHD reconnection is distinguished by qualitatively different magnetic field and electron and ion signatures in the reconnection layer. Furthermore, nonlinear reconnection rates in Hall MHD are weakly dependent on the Lundquist number. I discuss applications of the physics of impulsive reconnection to substorms in the Earth's magnetotail and solar flares.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-384
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Forced reconnection
  • Hall MHD
  • Magnetotail substorms
  • Resistive MHD
  • Solar flares


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