Using analytical models and kinetic simulations, this paper shows that weakly ionized meteor trails near the geomagnetic equator evolve through three distinct stages. First, a large electric field is generated perpendicular to both the geomagnetic field and the trail. Second, plasma density waves grow asymmetrically across the trail. Third, turbulence develops in the trails. Throughout this process, the electron E×B-drift velocity plays an essential role in controlling the motion of the trail. These plasma dynamics have important implications for the interpretation of meteor radar echoes.
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