The history of metal enrichment traced by X-ray observations of high-redshift galaxy clusters

Anthony M. Flores*, Adam B. Mantz, Steven W. Allen, R. Glenn Morris, Rebecca E.A. Canning, Lindsey E. Bleem, Michael S. Calzadilla, Benjamin T. Floyd, Michael McDonald, Florian Ruppin

*Corresponding author for this work

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We present the analysis of deep X-ray observations of 10 massive galaxy clusters at redshifts 1.05 < z < 1.71, with the primary goal of measuring the metallicity of the intracluster medium (ICM) at intermediate radii, to better constrain models of the metal enrichment of the intergalactic medium. The targets were selected from X-ray and Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect surveys, and observed with both the XMM-Newton and Chandra satellites. For each cluster, a precise gas mass profile was extracted, from which the value of r500 could be estimated. This allows us to define consistent radial ranges over which the metallicity measurements can be compared. In general, the data are of sufficient quality to extract meaningful metallicity measurements in two radial bins, r < 0.3r500 and 0.3 < r/r500 < 1.0. For the outer bin, the combined measurement for all 10 clusters, Z/Z = 0.21 ± 0.09, represents a substantial improvement in precision over previous results. This measurement is consistent with, but slightly lower than, the average metallicity of 0.315 solar measured at intermediate-to-large radii in low-redshift clusters. Combining our new high-redshift data with the previous low-redshift results allows us to place the tightest constraints to date on models of the evolution of cluster metallicity at intermediate radii. Adopting a power-law model of the form Z α (1 + z)γ, we measure a slope γ = -0.5^{+0.4-0.3, consistent with the majority of the enrichment of the ICM having occurred at very early times and before massive clusters formed, but leaving open the possibility that some additional enrichment in these regions may have occurred since a redshift of 2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5195-5204
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date30 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters


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