The metallicity and elemental abundance maps of kinematically atypical galaxies for constraining minor merger and accretion histories
Explaining the internal distribution and motions of stars and gas in galaxies is a key aspect in understanding their evolution. In previous work we identified five well-resolved galaxies with atypical kinematics from a cosmological simulation; two had kinematically distinct cores (KDCs), and three had counter-rotating gas and stars (CRGD). In this paper, we show that (i) the KDC galaxies have flattening of stellar [O/Fe] at large galactocentric radii due to the minor mergers that gave rise to the KDCs, and (ii) the CRGD galaxies have an abrupt transition in the gas metallicity maps, from high metallicity in the centre to very low metallicity further out. These galaxies are embedded in dark matter filaments where there is a ready supply of near-pristine gas to cause this effect. The non-linear increase in gas metallicity is also seen in the radial profiles, but when the metallicity gradients are measured, the difference is buried in the scatter of the relation. We also find that all five galaxies are fairly compact, with small effective radii given their stellar masses. This is because they have not experienced major mergers that kinematically heat the stars, and would have destroyed their unusual kinematics. In order to detect these signatures of minor mergers or accretion, the galaxy scaling relations or radial metallicity profiles are not enough, and it is necessary to obtain the two-dimensional maps with integral field spectroscopy observations.