Fast magnetic reconnection in three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics simulations
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We present a constructive numerical example of fast magnetic reconnection in
a three dimensional periodic box. Reconnection is initiated by a strong,
localized perturbation to the field lines. The solution is intrinsically three
dimensional, and its gross properties do not depend on the details of the
simulations. $\sim 50%$ of the magnetic energy is released in an event which
lasts about one Alfven time, but only after a delay during which the field
lines evolve into a critical configuration. We present a physical picture of
the process. The reconnection regions are dynamical and mutually interacting.
In the comoving frame of these regions, reconnection occurs through an X-like
point, analogous to Petschek reconnection. The dynamics appear to be driven by
global flows, not local processes.
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