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Title: KODIAQ-Z: Metals and Baryons in the Cool Intergalactic and Circumgalactic Gas at 2.2 ≲ z ≲ 3.6

We present the KODIAQ-Z survey aimed to characterize the cool, photoionized gas at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6 in 202 Hi-selected absorbers with 14.6 ≤logNHI< 20 that probe the interface between galaxies and the intergalactic medium (IGM). We find that gas with14.6logNHI<20at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6 can be metal-rich (−1.6 ≲ [X/H] ≲ − 0.2) as seen in damped Lyαabsorbers (DLAs); it can also be very metal-poor ([X/H] < − 2.4) or even pristine ([X/H] < − 3.8), which is not observed in DLAs but is common in the IGM. For16<logNHI<20absorbers, the frequency of pristine absorbers is about 1%–10%, while for14.6logNHI16absorbers it is 10%–20%, similar to the diffuse IGM. Supersolar gas is extremely rare (<1%) at these redshifts. The factor of several thousand spread from the lowest to highest metallicities and large metallicity variations (a factor of a few to >100) between absorbers separated by less than Δv< 500 km s−1imply that the metals are poorly mixed in14.6logNHI<20gas. We show that these photoionized absorbers contribute to about more » 14% of the cosmic baryons and 45% of the cosmic metals at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6. We find that the mean metallicity increases withNHi, consistent with what is found inz< 1 gas. The metallicity of gas in this column density regime has increased by a factor ∼8 from 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6 toz< 1, but the contribution of the14.6logNHI<19absorbers to the total metal budget of the universe atz< 1 is a quarter of that at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6. We show that FOGGIE cosmological zoom-in simulations have a similar evolution of [X/H] withNHi, which is not observed in lower-resolution simulations. In these simulations, very metal-poor absorbers with [X/H] < − 2.4 atz∼ 2–3 are tracers of inflows, while higher-metallicity absorbers are a mixture of inflows and outflows.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 156
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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