Slow shock and rotational discontinuity in MHD and Hall MHD models with anisotropic pressure

L. N. Hau, B. J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Pressure anisotropy may modify the characteristics of magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) waves, in particular, the slow mode wave and the corresponding shocks and discontinuities. In this study the formation of slow shocks (SSs) in anisotropic plasmas is examined by solving the gyrotropic MHD and Hall MHD equations numerically for one-dimensional Riemann problem. The MHD shocks and discontinuities are generated by imposing a finite normal magnetic field on the Harris type current sheet with a guide magnetic By component. It is shown that anomalous SSs moving faster than the intermediate wave or with positive density-magnetic field correlation may be generated in gyrotropic MHD and Hall MHD models. Moreover, for some parameter values SSs may exhibit upstream wave trains with right-handed polarization in contrast with the earlier prediction that SSs shall possess downstream left-hand polarized wave trains based on the isotropic Hall MHD theory. For the cases of By ≠ 0, SSs with increased density and decreased magnetic field followed by noncoplanar intermediate mode or rotational discontinuity (RD)-like structures similar to the compound SS-RD structures observed in space plasma environments may possibly form in symmetric and asymmetric current layers. The Walén relation of these anomalous RDs without the correction of pressure anisotropy may significantly be violated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6245-6261
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • MHD and Hall MHD
  • Riemann problem
  • magnetic reconnection
  • nonlinear waves
  • pressure anisotropy
  • shock and discontinuity


Dive into the research topics of 'Slow shock and rotational discontinuity in MHD and Hall MHD models with anisotropic pressure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this