Abundance ratios in hierarchical galaxy formation

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The chemical enrichment and stellar abundance ratios of galaxies that form in a hierarchical clustering scheme are calculated. For this purpose, I adopt the star formation histories (SFH) as they are delivered by semi-analytic models by Kauffmann. It turns out that the average SFH of cluster ellipticals does not yield globally a-enhanced stellar populations. The starburst that occurs when the elliptical forms in the major merger therefore plays a crucial role in producing a-enhancement. Only under the assumption that the initial mass function is signi®cantly ¯attened with respect to the Salpeter value during the burst, can a Mg/Fe overabundant population be obtained. In particular, for the interpretations of radial gradients in metallicity and a-enhancement, the mixing of global and burst populations are of great importance. The model predicts bright ®eld galaxies to be less a-enhanced than their counterparts in clusters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-661
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date1 Jul 1999
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 1999


  • stars : luminosity function
  • mass function
  • galaxies : abundances
  • galaxies : elliptical and lenticular, cD
  • galaxies : evolution
  • galaxies : formation
  • cosmology : theory


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