Journal Article

Metal enrichment of the intergalactic medium

Nicholay Y. Gnedin

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 294, issue 3, pages 407-421
Published in print March 1998 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 1998 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Metal enrichment of the intergalactic medium

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I demonstrate by means of high-resolution cosmological simulations, which include modelling of a two-phase interstellar medium, that the dominant mechanism for transporting heavy elements from protogalaxies into the intergalactic medium (IGM) is the merger mechanism as discovered by Gnedin & Ostriker. Direct ejection of the interstellar gas by supernovae plays only a minor role in transporting metals into the IGM: for a realistic cosmological scenario only a small fraction of all metals in the IGM is delivered by the supernova-driven winds, while most of the metals in the IGM are transported by the merger mechanism. As a result, the metallicity distribution in the IGM is highly inhomogeneous, in agreement with studies of the QSO metal absorption systems, and the predicted metallicity distribution of Lyman alpha absorbers as a function of their column density is in excellent agreement with the observational data.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; methods: numerical; galaxies: formation; intergalactic medium; quasars: absorption lines; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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