Articles | Volume 31, issue 4
Regular paper
23 Apr 2013
Regular paper |  | 23 Apr 2013

Spectral structure of Pc3–4 pulsations: possible signatures of cavity modes

P. R. Sutcliffe, B. Heilig, and S. Lotz

Abstract. In this study we investigate the spectral structure of Pc3–4 pulsations observed at low and midlatitudes. For this purpose, ground-based magnetometer data recorded at the MM100 stations in Europe and at two low latitude stations in South Africa were used. In addition, fluxgate magnetometer data from the CHAMP (CHAllenging Minisatellite Payload) low Earth orbit satellite were used. The results of our analysis suggest that at least three mechanisms contribute to the spectral content of Pc3–4 pulsations typically observed at these latitudes. We confirm that a typical Pc3–4 pulsation contains a field line resonance (FLR) contribution, with latitude dependent frequency, and an upstream wave (UW) contribution, with frequency proportional to the IMF (interplanetary magnetic field) magnitude BIMF. Besides the FLR and UW contributions, the Pc3–4 pulsations consistently contain signals at other frequencies that are independent of latitude and BIMF. We suggest that the most likely explanation for these additional frequency contributions is that they are fast mode resonances (FMRs) related to cavity, waveguide, or virtual modes. Although the above contributions to the pulsation spectral structure have been reported previously, we believe that this is the first time where evidence is presented showing that they are all present simultaneously in both ground-based and satellite data.