Modelling Element Abundances in Semi-analytic Models of Galaxy Formation

Robert M. Yates, Bruno Henriques, Peter A. Thomas, Guinevere Kauffmann, Jonas Johansson, Simon D. M. White

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We update the treatment of chemical evolution in the Munich semi-analytic model, L-GALAXIES. Our new implementation includes delayed enrichment from stellar winds, supernovae type II (SNe-II) and supernovae type Ia (SNe-Ia), as well as metallicity-dependent yields and a reformulation of the associated supernova feedback. Two different sets of SN-II yields and three different SN-Ia delay-time distributions (DTDs) are considered, and eleven heavy elements (including O, Mg and Fe) are self-consistently tracked. We compare the results of this new implementation with data on a) local, star-forming galaxies, b) Milky Way disc G dwarfs, and c) local, elliptical galaxies. We find that the z=0 gas-phase mass-metallicity relation is very well reproduced for all forms of DTD considered, as is the [Fe/H] distribution in the Milky Way disc. The [O/Fe] distribution in the Milky Way disc is best reproduced when using a DTD with less than or equal to 50 per cent of SNe-Ia exploding within ~400 Myrs. Positive slopes in the mass-[alpha/Fe] relations of local ellipticals are also obtained when using a DTD with such a minor `prompt' component. Alternatively, metal-rich winds that drive light alpha elements directly out into the circumgalactic medium also produce positive slopes for all forms of DTD and SN-II yields considered. Overall, we find that the best model for matching the wide range of observational data considered here should include a power-law SN-Ia DTD, SN-II yields that take account of prior mass loss through stellar winds, and some direct ejection of light alpha elements out of galaxies.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2013


  • astro-ph.CO
  • astro-ph.GA

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