Coronal energy release by MHD avalanches: heating mechanisms

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The plasma heating associated with an avalanche involving three twisted magnetic threads within a coronal loop is investigated using three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic simulations. The avalanche is triggered by the kink instability of one thread, with the others being engulfed as a consequence. The heating as a function of both time and location along the strands is evaluated. It is shown to be bursty at all times but to have no preferred spatial location. While there appears to be a level of "background" heating, this is shown to be comprised of individual, small heating events. A comparison between viscous and resistive (Ohmic) heating demonstrates that the strongest heating events are largely associated with the Ohmic heating that arises when the current exceeds a critical value. Viscous heating is largely (but not entirely) associated with smaller events. Ohmic heating dominates viscous heating only at the time of the initial kink instability. It is also demonstrated that a variety of viscous models lead to similar heating rates, suggesting that the system adjusts to dissipate the same amount of energy.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA158
Number of pages16
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Early online date24 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Sun: corona
  • Sun: magnetic fields
  • Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)
  • Methods: numerical


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