Alternating bursts of low energy ions and electrons near the substorm onset
Abstract. The substorm associated behavior of the low energy particles (30 eV–28.5 keV) near the earthward edge of the plasma sheet is examined using data from CRRES during the late growth and early expansion phases of a substorm on 12 March 1991 and their significance for the substorm onset mechanism is discussed. In this substorm, the CRRES was located on L ~6.3 and ~20° westward of the substorm onset and observed the sequence of the alternating bursts of the low energy ions and electrons. The bursts of the 0.633–9.6 keV ions occurred 1–2 min before the (7.31–21.7 keV) electron bursts. The first ion burst happened 2min before the substorm onset, at the moment of weak brightening of the most equatorial pre-breakup arc near the latitude ~62°. The alternation of the ion and electron bursts may be a signature of a drift-Alfvén ballooning instability on the inner edge of the plasma sheet near substorm onset.