Articles | Volume 30, issue 2
Regular paper
08 Feb 2012
Regular paper |  | 08 Feb 2012

3-D mesoscale MHD simulations of magnetospheric cusp-like configurations: cusp diamagnetic cavities and boundary structure

E. Adamson, A. Otto, and K. Nykyri

Abstract. We present results from mesoscale simulations of the magnetospheric cusp region for both strongly northward and strongly southward interplanetary magnetic field (IMF). Simulation results indicate an extended region of depressed magnetic field and strongly enhanced plasma β which exhibits a strong dependence on IMF orientation. These structures correspond to the Cusp Diamagnetic Cavities (CDC's). The typical features of these CDC's are generally well reproduced by the simulation. The inner boundaries between the CDC and the magnetosphere are gradual transitions which form a clear funnel shape, regardless of IMF orientation. The outer CDC/magnetosheath boundary exhibits a clear indentation in both the x-z and y-z planes for southward IMF, while it is only indented in the x-z plane for northward, with a convex geometry in the y-z plane. The outer boundary represents an Alfvénic transition, mostly consistent with a slow-shock, indicating that reconnection plays an important role in structuring the high-altitude cusp region.