Publication Date

2001

Journal or Book Title

ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL

Abstract

Observations have established that the diffuse intergalactic medium (IGM) at z ~ 3 is enriched to ~10-2.5 solar metallicity and that the hot gas in large clusters of galaxies (ICM) is enriched to - Z at z = 0. Metals in the IGM may have been removed from galaxies (in which they presumably form) during dynamical encounters between galaxies, by ram-pressure stripping, by supernova-driven winds, or as radiation-pressure-driven dust efflux. This study develops a method of investigating the chemical enrichment of the IGM and of galaxies, using already completed cosmological simulations. To these simulations we add dust and (gaseous) metals, assuming instantaneous recycling and distributing the dust and metals in the gas according to three simple parameterized prescriptions, one for each enrichment mechanism. These prescriptions are formulated to capture the basic ejection physics, and calibrated when possible with empirical data. Our method allows exploration of a large number of models, yet for each model yields a specific (not statistical) realization of the cosmic metal distribution that can be compared in detail to observations. Our results indicate that dynamical removal of metals from 108.5 M galaxies cannot account for the observed metallicity of low column density Lyα absorbers and that dynamical removal from 1010.5 M galaxies cannot account for the ICM metallicities. Dynamical removal also fails to produce a strong enough mass-metallicity relation in galaxies. In contrast, either wind or radiation-pressure ejection of metals from relatively large galaxies can plausibly account for all three sets of observations (though it is unclear whether metals can be distributed uniformly enough in the low-density regions without overly disturbing the IGM and whether clusters can be enriched quite as much as observed). We investigate in detail how our results change with variations in our assumed parameters and how results for the different ejection processes compare.

Comments

This is the pre-published version harvested from ArXiv. The published version is located at http://iopscience.iop.org/0004-637X/561/2/521/

Volume

561

Pages

521-549

Issue

2

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