It is shown that topologically stable cosmic strings can, in fact, appear to end or to break, even in theories without monopoles. This can occur whenever the spatial topology of the universe is nontrivial. For the case of Abelian-Higgs strings, we describe the gauge and scalar field configurations necessary for a string to end on a black hole. We give a lower bound for the rate at which a cosmic string will break via black hole pair production, using an instanton calculation based on the Euclidean C-metric.
Physics Review Letters