Date of Award

Spring 1998

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Richard L Kaufmann


The purpose of this study is to investigate energy transfer processes in the Earth's magnetotail. An equilibrium, two-dimensional magnetic field model is used to simulate the mid-tail region. Groups of particles are traced in the model magnetic field and the groups are combined to generate a self-consistent two-dimensional current sheet. Two thin current sheets are generated with thicknesses characteristic of a substorm growth phase. One current sheet contains Speiser-type particles only and the other one contains mostly Speiser-type and some trapped particles. It is found that the two current sheets show differences in energy flow processes and pressure anisotropies due to the different nature of orbits that they support. The generalized pressure equation is also investigated. It is found that shearing effects are very important in terms of power flow in the region. The heat flow and most energy flow processes as well as pressure tensor elements have a strong spatial dependence as one moves away from the equatorial plane. Very near the equatorial plane, particles do not obey the guiding center approximations and non guiding center effects determine the energetics of the current sheet.