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Spontaneous transport barriers quench turbulent resistivity in two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics


This Rapid Communication identifies the physical mechanism for the quench of turbulent resistivity in two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamics. Without an imposed, ordered magnetic field, a multiscale, blob-and-barrier structure of magnetic potential forms spontaneously. Magnetic energy is concentrated in thin, linear barriers, located at the interstices between blobs. The barriers quench the transport and kinematic decay of magnetic energy. The local transport bifurcation underlying barrier formation is linked to the inverse cascade of 〈A^{2}〉 and negative resistivity, which induce local bistability. For small-scale forcing, spontaneous layering of the magnetic potential occurs, with barriers located at the interstices between layers. This structure is effectively a magnetic staircase.

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