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Keywords:

  • dense matter;
  • instabilities;
  • magnetic fields;
  • stars: magnetars

ABSTRACT

We investigate a thermoresistive instability in the outer crusts of magnetars wherein a perturbation in temperature increases ohmic heating. We show that magnetars of characteristic age τage∼ 104 yr are unstable over time-scales as short as days if strong current sheets are present in the outer crust. This instability could play an important role in the thermal and magnetic field evolution of magnetars, and may be related to bursting activity in magnetars.