It is well known that magnetic flux pileup can significantly speed up the rate of magnetic reconnection in high Lundquist number resistive MHD,allowing reconnection to proceed at a rate which is insensitive to the plasma resistivity over a wide range of Lundquist number. Hence, pileup is a possible solution to the Sweet-Parker time scale problem. Unfortunately, pileup tends to saturate above a critical value of the Lundquist number, S_c, where the value ofS_c depends on initial and boundary conditions, with Sweet-Parker scaling returning above S_c. It has been argued (see Dorelli and Bim  and Dorelli ) that the Hall effect can allow flux pileup to saturate (when the scale of the current sheet approaches ion inertial scale, di) before the reconnection rate begins to stall. However, the resulting saturated reconnection rate, while insensitive to the plasma resistivity, was found to depend strongly on the di. In this presentation, we revisit the problem of magnetic island coalescence (which is a well known example of flux pileup reconnection), addressing the dependence of the maximum coalescence rate on the ratio of di in the "large island" limit in which the following inequality is always satisfied: l_eta di lambda, where I_eta is the resistive diffusion length and lambda is the island wavelength.
13176-10 ST Yosemite 2010 Interdisciplinary Workshop; 7-14 Feb. 2010; San Francisco, CA; United States