Articles | Volume 30, issue 3
Regular paper
29 Mar 2012
Regular paper |  | 29 Mar 2012

Multi-spacecraft observations of small-scale fluctuations in density and fields in plasmaspheric plumes

H. Matsui, F. Darrouzet, J. Goldstein, P. A. Puhl-Quinn, Yu. V. Khotyaintsev, P.-A. Lindqvist, E. Georgescu, C. G. Mouikis, and R. B. Torbert

Abstract. In this event study, small-scale fluctuations in plasmaspheric plumes with time scales of ~10 s to minutes in the spacecraft frame are examined. In one event, plasmaspheric plumes are observed by Cluster, while IMAGE measured density enhancement at a similar location. Fluctuations in density exist in plumes as detected by Cluster and are accompanied by fluctuations in magnetic fields and electric fields. Magnetic fluctuations are transverse and along the direction of the plumes. The E/B ratio is smaller than the Alfvén velocity. Another similar event is briefly presented. We then consider physical properties of the fluctuations. Alfvén mode modulated by the feedback instability is one possibility, although non-local generation is likely. It is hard to show that the fluctuations represent a fast mode. Interchange motion is possible due to the consistency between measurements and expectations. The energy source could be a pressure or density gradient in plasmaspheric plumes. When more events are accumulated so that statistical analysis becomes feasible, this type of study will be useful to understand the time evolution of plumes.