Articles | Volume 23, issue 2
28 Feb 2005
 | 28 Feb 2005

Pseudo-field line resonances in ground Pc5 pulsation events

D. V. Sarafopoulos

Abstract. In this work we study four representative cases of Pc5 ground pulsation events with discrete and remarkably stable frequencies extended at least in a high-latitude range of ~20°; a feature that erroneously gives the impression for an oscillation mode with "one resonant field line". Additionally, the presented events show characteristic changes in polarization sense, for a meridian chain of stations from the IMAGE array, and maximize their amplitude at or close to the supposed resonant magnetic field shell, much like the typical FLR. Nevertheless, they are not authentic FLRs, but pseudo-FLRs, as they are called. These structures are produced by repetitive and tilted twin-vortex structures caused by magnetopause surface waves, which are probably imposed by solar wind pressure waves. The latter is confirmed with in-situ measurements obtained by the Cluster satellites, as well as the Geotail, Wind, ACE, and LANL 1994-084 satellites. This research effort is largely based on two recent works: first, Sarafopoulos (2004a) has observationally established that a solar wind pressure pulse (stepwise pressure variation) produces a twin-vortex (single vortex) current system over the ionosphere; second, Sarafopoulos (2004b) has studied ground events with characteristic dispersive latitude-dependent structures and showed that these are associated with twin-vortex ionosphere current systems. In this work, we show that each pseudo-FLR event is associated with successive and tilted large-scale twin-vortex current systems corresponding to a magnetopause surface wave with wavelength 10-20RE. We infer that between an authentic FLR, which is a spatially localized structure with an extent 0.5RE in the magnetospheric equatorial plane, and the magnetopause surface wavelength, there is a scale factor of 20-40. A chief observational finding, in this work, is that there are Pc5 ground pulsation events showing two gradual and latitude dependent phase-shifts of 180°, at the same time.