Supergiant shells and molecular cloud formation in the large magellanic cloud

J. R. Dawson, N. M. McClure-Griffiths, T. Wong, John M. Dickey, A. Hughes, Y. Fukui, A. Kawamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We investigate the influence of large-scale stellar feedback on the formation of molecular clouds in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Examining the relationship between H I and 12CO(J = 1-0) in supergiant shells (SGSs), we find that the molecular fraction in the total volume occupied by SGSs is not enhanced with respect to the rest of the LMC disk. However, the majority of objects (∼70% by mass) are more molecular than their local surroundings, implying that the presence of a supergiant shell does on average have a positive effect on the molecular gas fraction. Averaged over the full SGS sample, our results suggest that ∼12%-25% of the molecular mass in supergiant shell systems was formed as a direct result of the stellar feedback that created the shells. This corresponds to ∼4%-11% of the total molecular mass of the galaxy. These figures are an approximate lower limit to the total contribution of stellar feedback to molecular cloud formation in the LMC, and constitute one of the first quantitative measurements of feedback-triggered molecular cloud formation in a galactic system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2013


  • ISM: bubbles
  • ISM: molecules
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • evolution
  • galaxies: ISM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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