University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Scott Thaller

SHEPLAB 145 (office), 624-6804
thaller @


About My Work

I am a Research Associate in the Space Physics group working under Professor John R. Wygant. My research focuses on plasmasphere dynamics and ring current formation using electric and magnetic fields data, as well as particle data from various spacecraft, primarily the Van Allen Probes satellites. In particular, I study the role of the large scale convection electric field in the erosion of the plasmasphere and in the earthward transport and energization of ring current ions. Understanding these processes is essential to our understanding of inner magnetospheric dynamics. For example, the location of the plasmasphere is an important factor in determining the ULF and whistler hiss wave power distribution in the inner magnetosphere, both of which play a role in radiation belt dynamics. The ring current causes distortions and stretching of Earth's dipolar field, which in turn effects the drift paths of the radiation belts.

Selected Publications

Thaller, S. A., et al. (2015), Van Allen Probes investigation of the large-scale duskward electric field and its role in ring current formation and plasmasphere erosion in the 1 June 2013 storm, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, doi:10.1002/2014JA020875

Cattell, C., J. Dombeck, A. Preiwisch, S. Thaller, P. Vo, L.B. Wilson III, J. Wygant, S. B. Mende, H.U. Frey, R. Ilie, and G. Lu (2011), Observations of a high-latitude stable electron auroral emission at ˜16 MLT during a large substorm, J. Geophys. Res., 116, A07215, doi:10.1029/2010JA016132

Dai, L., J. R. Wygant, C. A. Cattell, J. Dombeck, S. Thaller, C. G. Mouikis, A. Balogh, and H. Rème (2011), Cluster observations of surface waves in the ion jets from magnetotail reconnection, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JA017004

Dai, Lei; K. Takahashi, J.R. Wygant, L. Chen, J. Bonnell, C.A. Cattell, S. Thaller, C. Kletzing, C.W. Smith, R.J. MacDowall, D.N. Baker, J.B. Blake, J. Fennell, S. Claudepierre, H.O. Funsten,G.D. Reeves, H.E. Spence, (2013), Excitation of poloidal standing Alfvén waves through drift resonance wave-particle interaction, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 4127–4132, doi:10.1002/grl.50800

Foster, J. C., et al. (2014), Prompt energization of relativistic and highly relativistic electrons during a substorm interval: Van Allen Probes observations, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 20–25, doi:10.1002/2013GL058438

Foster, J. C., P. J. Erickson, A. J. Coster, S. Thaller, J. Tao, J. R. Wygant, and J. W. Bonnell (2014), Storm time observations of plasmasphere erosion flux in the magnetosphere and ionosphere, Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 762–768, doi:10.1002/2013GL059124

Li, W., R. M. Thorne, J. Bortnik, G. D. Reeves, C. A. Kletzing, W. S. Kurth, G. B. Hospodarsky, H. E. Spence, J. B. Blake, J. F. Fennell, S. G. Claudepierre, J. R. Wygant, S. A. Thaller (2013), An unusual enhancement of low-frequency plasmaspheric hiss in the outer plasmasphere associated with substorm-injected electrons, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 3798–3803, doi:10.1002/grl.50787

Li, Z., J. Paral, M. K. Hudson, A. N. Jaynes, A. J. Boyd, D. Malaspina, S. A. Thaller, J. R. Wygant, and M. G. Henderson (2013), Modeling gradual diffusion and prompt changes in radiation belt electron phase space density for the March 2013 Van Allen Probes case study, Geophys. Res. Lett., submitted

Kurth, W. S., De Pascuale, S., Faden, J. B., Kletzing, C. A., Hospodarsky, G. B., Thaller, S. and Wygant, J. R. (2015), Electron densities inferred from plasma wave spectra obtained by the Waves instrument on Van Allen Probes, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120: 904–914. doi: 10.1002/2014JA020857

Tang, X., C. Cattell, R. Lysak, L. B. WilsonIII, L. Dai, and S. Thaller (2015), THEMIS observations of electrostatic ion cyclotron waves and associated ion heating near the Earth's dayside magnetopause, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, 3380–3392. doi: 10.1002/2015JA020984

Dai, L., et al. (2015), Storm time occurrence and spatial distribution of Pc4 poloidal ULF waves in the inner magnetosphere: A Van Allen Probes statistical study, J. Geophys. Res. Space Physics, 120, doi:10.1002/2015JA021134


B.S. Physics, Penn State, 2003
Ph.D. University of Minnesota, 2014, Adviser: John R. Wygant