THE ORIGIN OF METALS IN THE CIRCUMGALACTIC MEDIUM OF MASSIVE GALAXIES ATz= 3 Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We present a detailed study of the metal-enriched circum-galactic medium of a massive galaxy at z=3 using "ErisMC", a new cosmological hydrodynamic "zoom-in" simulations of a disk galaxy with mass comparable to the Milky Way. The run adopts a blastwave scheme for supernova feedback that generates galactic outflows without explicit wind particles, a star formation recipe based on a high gas density threshold, and high temperature metal cooling. ErisMC's main progenitor at z=3 resembles a "Lyman break" galaxy of mass M_vir=2.4e11 M_sun, virial radius R_vir=48 kpc, and star formation rate 18 M_sun/yr, and its metal-enriched CGM extends to 200 (physical) kpc from its center. Approximately 41, 9, and 50 percent of all gas-phase metals at z=3 are locked in a hot (T> 3e5 K), warm (3e5 >T> 3e4 K), and cold (T< 3e4 K) medium, respectively. We identify three sources of heavy elements: 1) the main host, responsible for 60% of all the metals found within 3R_vir; 2) its satellite progenitors, responsible for 28% of all the metals within 3R_vir, and for only 5% of those beyond 3R_vir; and nearby dwarfs, which give origin to 12% of all the metals within 3R_vir and 95% of those beyond 3R_vir. Late (z<5) galactic "superwinds" account for only 9% of all the metals observed beyond 2R_vir, the bulk having been released at redshifts 5< z < 8 by early star formation and outflows. In the CGM, lower overdensities are typically enriched by `older', colder metals. Heavy elements are accreted onto Eris along filaments via low-metallicity cold inflows, and are ejected hot via galactic outflows at a few hundred km/s. The outflow mass-loading factor is of order unity for the main halo, but can exceed 10 for nearby dwarfs. We stress that our "zoom-in" simulation focuses on the CGM of a single massive system and cannot describe the enrichment history of the IGM as a whole. (abridged)

authors

  • Shen, Sijing
  • Madau, Piero
  • Aguirre, Anthony
  • Guedes, Javiera
  • Mayer, Lucio
  • Wadsley, James

publication date

  • November 20, 2012