Flux Transfer Events: A Theoretical Overview

  1. J. H. Waite Jr.,
  2. J. L. Burch and
  3. R. L. Moore
  1. J. R. Kan

Published Online: 18 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1029/GM054p0347

Solar System Plasma Physics

Solar System Plasma Physics

How to Cite

Kan, J. R. (1989) Flux Transfer Events: A Theoretical Overview, in Solar System Plasma Physics (eds J. H. Waite, J. L. Burch and R. L. Moore), American Geophysical Union, Washington, D. C.. doi: 10.1029/GM054p0347

Author Information

  1. Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 18 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 1 JAN 1989

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780875900742

Online ISBN: 9781118664315



  • Space plasmas;
  • Sun;
  • Magnetosphere;
  • Astrophysics


The elbow-shaped flux transfer events (FTEs) proposed by Russell and Elphic (1978, 1979) have changed our concept of the dayside magnetopause reconnection from the traditional two-dimensional configuration to a specific three-dimensional one. Theoretical response to the challenge of three-dimensional reconnections has been slow in coming. Two general approaches to the three-dimensional reconnection problem have been pursued: one assumes the three-dimensional reconnection process to be laminar, the other assumes it to be turbulent. It is too early to tell which approach is on the right track. At the present stage, it is important to encourage new and innovative theoretical ideas. Several such ideas have been proposed in the last few years; these will be summarized and compared. A number of basic issues of FTEs are singled out for further examination.