Ultraheavy element enrichment in impulsive solar flares Academic Article uri icon


  • Particle acceleration by cascading Alfvén wave turbulence was suggested as being responsible for energetic particle populations in 3He-rich solar flares. In particular, it was noted that the damping of the turbulence by the tail of the particle distribution in rigidity naturally leads to the dramatic enhancement of a pre-accelerated species—as 3He is posited to be—and superheavy elements. The subsequent detection of large enrichment of ultraheavies, relative to iron, has apparently confirmed this prediction, lending support to the original idea. It is shown here that this picture could be somewhat sharpened by progress in understanding the three-dimensional geometrical details of cascading Alfvén turbulence. The mechanism may be relevant in other astrophysical environments where the source of turbulence is nonmagnetic, such as clusters of galaxies.

publication date

  • January 1, 2014