The magnetospheric trough

M. F. Thomsen, D. J. McComas, J. E. Borovsky, R. C. Elphic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

31 Scopus citations


We review the history of the concepts of the magnetospheric cold-ion trough and hot-electron trough and conclude that the two regions are actually essentially the same. The magnetospheric trough may be viewed as a temporal state in the evolution of convecting flux tubes. These flux tubes are in contact with the earth’s upper atmosphere, which acts both as a sink for precipitating hot plasma-sheet electrons and as a source for the cold ionospheric plasma, leading to progressive depletion of the plasma sheet and refilling with cold plasma. Geosynchronous plasma observations show that the rate of loss of plasma-sheet electron energy density is commensurate with the precipitating electron flux at the low-latitude edge of the diffuse aurorae. The rate at which geosynchronous flux tubes fill with cold ionospheric plasma is found to be consistent with previous estimates of early-time refilling. Geosynchronous observations further indicate that both Coulomb collisions and wave-particle effects probably play a role in trapping ionospheric material in the magnetosphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeospace Mass and Energy Flow
Subtitle of host publicationResults From the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics Program, 1998
EditorsJames L. Horwitz, William K. Peterson, Dennis L. Gallagher
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781118664162
ISBN (Print)9780875900872
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameGeophysical Monograph Series
ISSN (Print)0065-8448
ISSN (Electronic)2328-8779

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics


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