Articles | Volume 33, issue 9
ANGEO Communicates
17 Sep 2015
ANGEO Communicates |  | 17 Sep 2015

In situ evidence of breaking the ion frozen-in condition via the non-gyrotropic pressure effect in magnetic reconnection

L. Dai, C. Wang, V. Angelopoulos, and K.-H. Glassmeier

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Magnetic reconnection is a ubiquitous process that drives global-scale dynamics in plasmas. For reconnection to proceed, both ion and electrons must be unfrozen in a localized diffusion region. By analyzing in situ measurements, we show that the non-gyrotropic ion pressure is mainly responsible for breaking the ion frozen-in condition in reconnection. The reported non-gyrotropic ion pressure tensor can specify the reconnection electric field that controls how quickly reconnection proceeds.