The role of plasma interchange motion for the formation of a plasmapause
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Mcllwain's electric and magnetic field distributions (E3H and M2) have been used to calculate the drift path of plasma density irregularities taking into account plasma interchange motion driven by the gravitational and inertial forces acting on the whole mass of the plasma elements. It has been shown that there is a region in the magnetosphere which is unstable with respect to the interchange motion of the cold plasma element. Any plasma hole in the background density drifts ultimately toward an asymptotic trajectory. Along this trajectory the inward gravitational force is balanced by the outward inertial force averaged over one revolution around the Earth. This asymptotic trajectory, along which all plasma holes ultimately accumulate, is identified with the equatorial plasmapause. The maximum velocity for the interchange motion is proportional to the excess (or defect) of density in the plasma element, and inversely proportional to the integrated Pedersen conductivity. Plasma detachment is shown to occur preferentially in the post-midnight sector.
CitationLemaire, J.; Kowalkowski, L. (1981). The role of plasma interchange motion for the formation of a plasmapause. , Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 29, Issue 4, 469-478, DOI: 10.1016/0032-0633(81)90090-8.