7Li in Metal-Poor Stars: The Spread of the Li Plateau

Sean G. Ryan
2000 Symposium - International astronomical union  
A highly homogeneous study of 23 halo field dwarf stars has achieved a Li abundance accuracy of 0.033 dex per star. The work shows that the intrinsic spread of the Li abundances of these starsat a given metallicityis < 0.02 dex, and consistent with zero. That is, the Spite Li plateau for halo field dwarfs is incredibly thin. The thinness rules out depletion by more than 0.1 dex by a rotational-induced extra-mixing mechanism. Despite the thinness of the plateau, an increase of Li with [Fe/H]
more » ... s seen, interpreted as evidence of Galactic chemical evolution (GCE) of Li, primarily due to Galactic cosmic ray (GCR) spallation reactions in the era of halo formation. The rate of Li evolution is concordant with: (1) observations of spallative6Li in halo dwarfs; (2) GCE models; and (3) data on Li in higher metallicity halo stars. New data have also revealed four new ultra-Li-deficient halo dwarfs, doubling the number known. Based on their propensity to cluster at the halo main sequence turnoffand alsoto exist redward of the turnoff, we hypothesise that they are the products of binary mergers that ultimately will become blue stragglers. We explain their low Li abundances by normal pre-main-sequence (and possibly main-sequence) destruction in the low mass stars prior to their merging. If this explanation is correct, then such stars need no longer be considered an embarrassment to the existence of negligible Li destruction in the majority of field halo dwarfs.
doi:10.1017/s0074180900166689 fatcat:2jh5xll65raqfo5wnr3izn7zxa