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Abstract: A detailed numerical study of magnetic reconnection in resistive MHD for verylarge, previously inaccessible, Lundquist numbers $10^4\le S\le 10^8$ isreported. Large-aspect-ratio Sweet-Parker current sheets are shown to beunstable to super-Alfv\-enically fast formation of plasmoid magnetic-islandchains. The plasmoid number scales as $S^{3-8}$ and the instability growth ratein the linear stage as $S^{1-4}$, in agreement with the theory by Loureiro etal. Phys. Plasmas {\bf 14}, 100703 2007. In the nonlinear regime, plasmoidscontinue to grow faster than they are ejected and completely disrupt thereconnection layer. These results suggest that high-Lundquist-numberreconnection is inherently time-dependent and hence call for a substantialrevision of the standard Sweet-Parker quasi-stationary picture for $S>10^4$.



Author: R. Samtaney, N.F. Loureiro, D.A. Uzdensky, A.A. Schekochihin, S.C. Cowley

Source: https://arxiv.org/







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