Strong reconnection electric fields in shock-driven turbulence

N. Bessho, L.-J. Chen, J. E. Stawarz, S. Wang, M. Hesse, III L. B. Wilson, J. Ng

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15 Citations (Scopus)
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Turbulent magnetic reconnection in a quasi-parallel shock under parameters relevant to the Earth's bow shock is investigated by means of a two-dimensional particle-in-cell simulation. The addressed aspects include the reconnection electric field, the reconnection rate, and the electron and the ion outflow speeds. In the shock transition region, many current sheets are generated in shock-driven turbulence, and electron-only reconnection and reconnection where both ions and electrons are involved can occur in those current sheets. The electron outflow speed in electron-only reconnection shows a positive correlation with the theoretical speed, which is close to the local electron Alfvén speed, and a strong convection electric field is generated by the large electron outflow. As a result, the reconnection electric field becomes much larger than those in the standard magnetopause or magnetotail reconnection. In shock-driven reconnection that involves ion dynamics, both electron outflows and ion outflows can reach of the order of 10 times the Alfvén speed in the X-line rest frame, leading to a reconnection electric field the same order as that in electron-only reconnection. An electron-only reconnection event observed by the magnetospheric multiscale mission downstream of a quasi-parallel shock is qualitatively similar to those in the simulation and shows that the outflow speed reaches approximately half the local electron Alfvén speed, supporting the simulation prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number042304
Number of pages24
JournalPhysics of Plasmas
Issue number4
Early online date8 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes


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