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Origin and Evolution of Deep Plasmaspheric Notches

By M. W. Liemohn, M. L. Adrian and D. L. Gallagher


Deep plasmaspheric notches can extend over more than 2 R(sub E) in radial distance and 3 hours MLT in the magnetic equatorial plane, as observed by the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) imager on the IMAGE mission. They are among the largest evacuated features in the exterior plasmaspheric boundary. They can last for days and exhibit a variety of shapes. It appears that weak convection and limited erosion precedes notch formation at the westward, near-Earth edge of the convection plume. Eighteen clear notch events were found and analyzed in 2000. Among these events, notches were found to drift as slowly as 44% of corotation. In only one case was a notch found to drift at the corotation rate within measurement error. On average, these notches drift at about 21.5 h d(sup -1) or 90% of the corotational rate. Notches sometimes exhibit an interior structure that appears as an extended prominence of dense plasma, which forms a W- or M-like feature in IMAGE/EUV images, depending on viewing perspective. Initial modeling suggests that notches and notch prominences may be caused in part by intense small-scale potential structures that result from the localized injection of ring current plasma. Plasma filling rates during recovery are examined in three L shell ranges from L = 2 to L = 3.5 with rates ranging from 5 to 140 cm(sup -3) d(sup -1). Plasma loss during a minor substorm is found to extend to surprisingly low L shell with rates ranging from 100 to 130 cm(sup -3) d(sup -1) across the L shells examined

Topics: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Year: 2005
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