Coarse and synthetic Weil–Petersson geometry: quasi-flats, geodesics and relative hyperbolicity
Geometry and Topology
We analyze the coarse geometry of the Weil-Petersson metric on Teichm\"uller space, focusing on applications to its synthetic geometry (in particular the behavior of geodesics). We settle the question of the strong relative hyperbolicity of the Weil-Petersson metric via consideration of its coarse quasi-isometric model, the "pants graph." We show that in dimension~3 the pants graph is strongly relatively hyperbolic with respect to naturally defined product regions and show any quasi-flat lies a
... y quasi-flat lies a bounded distance from a single product. For all higher dimensions there is no non-trivial collection of subsets with respect to which it strongly relatively hyperbolic; this extends a theorem of [BDM] in dimension 6 and higher into the intermediate range (it is hyperbolic if and only if the dimension is 1 or 2 [BF]). Stability and relative stability of quasi-geodesics in dimensions up through 3 provide for a strong understanding of the behavior of geodesics and a complete description of the CAT(0)-boundary of the Weil-Petersson metric via curve-hierarchies and their associated "boundary laminations."