Origin of Weak Mg ii and Higher-ionization Absorption Lines in Outflows from Intermediate-redshift Dwarf Galaxies

Akimi Fujita, Toru Misawa, Jane C. Charlton, Avery Meiksin, Mordecai Mark Mac Low

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Observations at intermediate redshifts reveal the presence of numerous compact, weak Mg ii absorbers with near to supersolar metallicities, often surrounded by extended regions that produce C iv and/or O vi absorption, in the circumgalactic medium at large impact parameters from luminous galaxies. Their origin and nature remain unclear. We hypothesize that undetected satellite dwarf galaxies are responsible for producing some of these weak Mg ii absorbers. We test our hypothesis using gas dynamical simulations of galactic outflows from a dwarf galaxy with a halo mass of 5 109 M o˙, as might be falling into a larger L∗ halo at z = 2. We find that thin, filamentary, weak Mg ii absorbers (≲100 pc) are produced in two stages: (1) when shocked core-collapse supernova (SN II)-enriched gas descending in a galactic fountain gets shock compressed by upward flows driven by subsequent SN II and cools (phase 1) and, later, (2) during an outflow driven by Type Ia supernovae that shocks and sweeps up pervasive SN II-enriched gas, which then cools (phase 2). The Mg ii absorbers in our simulations are continuously generated by shocks and cooling with moderate metallicity ∼0.1-0.2 Z o˙ but low column density <1012 cm-2. They are also surrounded by larger (0.5-1 kpc) C iv absorbers that seem to survive longer. Larger-scale (>1 kpc) C iv and O vi clouds are also produced in both expanding and shocked SN II-enriched gas. Observable ion distributions from our models appear well converged at our standard resolution (12.8 pc). Our simulation highlights the possibility of dwarf galactic outflows producing highly enriched multiphase gas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number157
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 10 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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