Generation Mechanism for Interlinked Flux Tubes on the Magnetopause

G. Farinas Perez*, F. R. Cardoso, D. Sibeck, W. D. Gonzalez, G. Facskó, J. C. Coxon, A. D. Pembroke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We use a global magnetohydrodynamics simulation to analyze transient magnetic reconnection processes at the magnetopause. The solar wind conditions have been kept constant, and an interplanetary magnetic field with large duskward BY and southward BZ components has been imposed. Five flux transfer events (FTEs) with clear bipolar magnetic field signatures have been observed. We observed a peculiar structure defined as interlinked flux tubes (IFTs) in the first and fourth FTE, which had very different generation mechanisms. The first FTE originates as an IFTs and remains with this configuration until its final moment. However, the fourth FTE develops as a classical flux rope but changes its 3-D magnetic configuration to that of IFTs. This work studies the mechanism for generating IFTs. The growth of the resistive tearing instability has been identified as the cause for the first IFTs formation. We believe that the instability has been triggered by the accumulation of interplanetary magnetic field at the subsolar point where the grid resolution is very high. The evidence shows that two new reconnection lines form northward and southward of the subsolar region. The IFTs have been generated with all the classical signatures of a single flux rope. The other IFTs detected in the fourth FTE developed as a result of magnetic reconnection inside its complex and twisted magnetic fields, which leads to a change in the magnetic configuration from a flux rope of twisted magnetic field lines to IFTs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1337-1355
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number2
Early online date26 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


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