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Annales Geophysicae An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 24, issue 6
Ann. Geophys., 24, 1695–1704, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-1695-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Ann. Geophys., 24, 1695–1704, 2006
https://doi.org/10.5194/angeo-24-1695-2006
© Author(s) 2006. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  03 Jul 2006

03 Jul 2006

Oscillatory magnetic flux tube slippage in the plasma sheet

A. A. Petrukovich1, T. l. Zhang2, W. Baumjohann2, R. Nakamura2, A. Runov2, A. Balogh3, and C. Carr3 A. A. Petrukovich et al.
  • 1Space Research Institute, 84/32 Profsoyuznaya st., Moscow, 117997, Russia
  • 2Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schmiedlstr. 6, 8042 Graz, Austria
  • 3The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London SW7 2BW, UK

Abstract. Cluster observations in the magnetotail revealed an abundance of strongly inclined current sheets. We determine the magnetic configuration of a particular subset of such phenomena: a series of sheet crossings, having significantly differing inclinations and occurring during quiet conditions. These wave-like variations appear to propagate azimuthally and their magnetic amplitude and magnetic gradient (current density) inside the sheet are proportional to their steepness (degree of inlcination). In spite of significant normal direction changes between neighboring crossings up to 150°, the magnetic field direction inside the neutral sheet remains almost constant. The wavelengths and spatial amplitudes are of the order of 2–5 RE. These observations are interpreted as crossings of a quasi-periodic dynamical structure produced by almost vertical slippage motion of the neighboring magnetic flux tubes in the high-β plasma sheet, rather than large-scale flapping of a stationary structure.

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