Formation of the first galaxies: Metal enrichment and stellar populations

John H. Wise, Matthew J. Turk, Michael L. Norman, Tom Abel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


We present adaptive mesh refinement radiation hydrodynamics simulations that follows the transition from Population III to II star formation. We model stellar radiative feedback with adaptive ray tracing. A top-heavy initial mass function for the Population III stars is considered, resulting in a plausible distribution of pair-instability supernovae and associated metal enrichment. We find that the gas fraction recovers from 5 percent to nearly the cosmic fraction in halos with merger histories rich in halos above 107M . A single pair-instability supernova is sufficient to enrich the host halo to a metallicity floor of 10-3Z and to transition to Population II star formation. This provides a natural explanation for the observed floor on damped Lyman alpha (DLA) systems metallicities reported in the literature, which is of this order. We find that stellar metallicities do not necessarily trace stellar ages, as mergers of halos with established stellar populations can create superpositions of t - Z evolutionary tracks. A bimodal metallicity distribution is created after a starburst occurs when the halo can cool efficiently through atomic line cooling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of Science
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventWorkshop on Cosmic Radiation Fields: Sources in the Early Universe, CRF 2010 - Hamburg, Germany
Duration: Nov 9 2010Nov 12 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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