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Giovanni Lapenta
Centre for Plasma Astrophysics, Catholic University of Leuven

Friday, December 12, 2008
Center Green Laboratory 1, Captain Mary Room
Lecture 11:00am

Fast Turbulent Reconnection Regime in the Fluid MHD Limit

Within a MHD approach we find magnetic reconnection to progress in two entirely different ways. The first is well known: the laminar Sweet-Parker process. But a second, completely different and chaotic reconnection process is possible. This regime has properties of immediate practical relevance: (i) it is much faster, developing on scales of the order of the Alfvén time, and (ii) the areas of reconnection become distributed chaotically over a macroscopic region. The onset of the faster process is the formation of closed- circulation patterns where the jets going out of the reconnection regions turn around and force their way back in, carrying along copious amounts of magnetic flux. This new discovery was reported recently on
Phys. Rev. Lett. 100, 235001 (2008)
We summarize the new discovery and provide its extension to include 3D regimes and we present the practical application to reconnection in a stratified equilibrium representative of the solar chromosphere and corona.