Prelog Chow rings and degenerations

Christian Böhning*, Hans-Christian Graf von Bothmer, Michel van Garrel

*Corresponding author for this work

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For a simple normal crossing variety X, we introduce the concepts of prelog Chow ring, saturated prelog Chow group, as well as their counterparts for numerical equivalence. Thinking of X as the central fibre in a (strictly) semistable degeneration, these objects can intuitively be thought of as consisting of cycle classes on X for which some initial obstruction to arise as specializations of cycle classes on the generic fibre is absent. Cycle classes in the generic fibre specialize to their prelog counterparts in the central fibre, thus extending to Chow rings the method of studying smooth varieties via strictly semistable degenerations. After proving basic properties for prelog Chow rings and groups, we explain how they can be used in an envisaged further development of the degeneration method by Voisin et al. to prove stable irrationality of very general fibres of certain families of varieties; this extension would allow for much more singular degenerations, such as toric degenerations as occur in the Gross–Siebert programme, to be usable. We illustrate that by looking at the example of degenerations of elliptic curves, which, although simple, shows that our notion of prelog decomposition of the diagonal can also be used as an obstruction in cases where all components in a degeneration and their mutual intersections are rational. We also compute the saturated prelog Chow group of degenerations of cubic surfaces.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRendiconti del Circolo Matematico di Palermo Series 2
Early online date23 May 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 May 2022


  • Prelog cycles
  • Prelog decomposition of the diagonal
  • Semistable degenerations
  • Stable rationality


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