Ionospheric Footprints of Detached Magnetotail Interchange Heads

E. V. Panov, W. Baumjohann, Rumi Nakamura, P. L. Pritchett, J. M. Weygand, M. V. Kubyshkina

Research output

6 Citations (Scopus)


Pritchett and Coroniti (2011,, 2013, have predicted that the kinetic ballooning/interchange instability (BICI) can provoke reconnection onsets that lead to detached azimuthally thin earthward intrusions (heads) of depleted plasma tubes when βeq ≤ 100. Such detached BICI heads would be seen as localized earthward-propagating dipolarization fronts. Using Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms observations in the plasma sheet at XGSM≈−11RE and conjugate All-Sky Imager and magnetometer networks observations on the ground, we show four examples when prominent dipolarization fronts with moderate earthward flows were observed amidst azimuthally drifting interchange heads and concurrently with the ionospheric current intensifications near Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms footprints and auroral bright spots originating from dimmer azimuthal beads/rays. These events support the idea that some of the BICI heads detach from the region with reversed radial gradient of BZ due to local reconnection. The detached BICI heads propagate earthward-driving ionospheric pseudo-breakups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7237-7247
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2019

Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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