We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

The fates of the circumgalactic medium in the FIRE simulations.

Murray, Norman and Chan, T. K. and El-Badry, Kareem and Wetzel, Andrew and Esmerian, Clarke and Kereš, Dušan and Stern, Jonathan and Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Hafen, Zachary (2020) 'The fates of the circumgalactic medium in the FIRE simulations.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 494 (3). pp. 3581-3595.


We analyse the different fates of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) in FIRE-2 cosmological simulations, focusing on the redshifts z = 0.25 and 2 representative of recent surveys. Our analysis includes 21 zoom-in simulations covering the halo mass range Mh(z = 0) ∼ 1010–1012 M. We analyse both where the gas ends up after first leaving the CGM (its ‘proximate’ fate) and its location at z = 0 (its ‘ultimate’ fate). Of the CGM at z = 2, about half is found in the ISM or stars of the central galaxy by z = 0 in Mh(z = 2) ∼ 5 × 1011 M haloes, but most of the CGM in lower mass haloes ends up in the intergalactic medium (IGM). This is so even though most of the CGM in Mh(z = 2) ∼ 5 × 1010 M haloes first accretes on to the central galaxy before being ejected into the IGM. On the other hand, most of the CGM mass at z = 0.25 remains in the CGM by z = 0 at all halo masses analysed. Of the CGM gas that subsequently accretes on to the central galaxy in the progenitors of Mh(z = 0) ∼ 1012 M haloes, most of it is cool (T ∼ 104 K) at z = 2 but hot (∼Tvir) at z ∼ 0.25, consistent with the expected transition from cold mode to hot mode accretion. Despite the transition in accretion mode, at both z = 0.25 and 2 80 per cent of the cool gas in Mh 1011M haloes will accrete on to a galaxy. We find that the metallicity of CGM gas is typically a poor predictor of both its proximate and ultimate fates. This is because there is in general little correlation between the origin of CGM gas and its fate owing to substantial mixing while in the CGM.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:28 March 2020
Date deposited:17 June 2020
Date of first online publication:09 April 2020
Date first made open access:17 June 2020

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar