Temperature and abundance profiles of hot gas in galaxy groups - II. Implications for feedback and ICM enrichment

J Rasmussen, Trevor Ponman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

50 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the history of galactic feedback and chemical enrichment within a sample of 15 X-ray bright groups of galaxies, on the basis of the inferred Fe and Si distributions in the hot gas and the associated metal masses produced by core-collapse and Type la supernovae (SNe). Most of these cool-core groups show a central Fe and Si excess, which can be explained by prolonged enrichment by SN Ia and stellar winds in the central early-type galaxy alone, but with tentative evidence for additional processes contributing to core enrichment in hotter groups. Inferred metal mass-to-light ratios inside r(500) show a positive correlation with total group mass but are generally significantly lower than in clusters, due to a combination of lower global intracluster medium (ICM) abundances and gas-to-light ratios in groups. This metal deficiency is present for products from both SN Ia and SN II, and Suggests that metals were either synthesized, released from galaxies or retained within the ICM less efficiently in lower mass systems. We explore possible causes, including variations in galaxy formation and metal release efficiency, cooling out of metals, and gas and metal loss via active galactic nuclei (AGN) - or starburst-driven galactic winds from groups or their precursor filaments. Loss of enriched material from filaments Coupled with post-collapse AGN feedback emerges as viable explanations, but we also find evidence for metals to have been released less efficiently from galaxies in cooler groups and for the ICM in these to appear chemically less evolved, possibly reflecting more extended star formation histories in less massive systems. Some implications for the hierarchical growth of clusters from groups are briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-263
Number of pages25
JournalRoyal Astronomical Society. Monthly Notices
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters
  • intergalactic medium
  • galaxies: evolution


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