Wu et al. (2018) – Giant molecular cloud collisions as triggers of star formation. VI. Collision-induced turbulence

We investigate collisions between giant molecular clouds (GMCs) as potential generators of their internal turbulence. Using magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of self-gravitating, magnetized, turbulent GMCs, we compare kinematic and dynamic properties of dense gas structures formed when such clouds collide compared to those that form in non-colliding clouds as self-gravity overwhelms decaying turbulence. We explore the nature of turbulence in these structures via distribution functions of density, velocity dispersions, virial parameters, and momentum injection. We find that the dense clumps formed from GMC collisions have higher effective Mach number, greater overall velocity dispersions, sustain near-virial equilibrium states for longer times, and are the conduit for the injection of turbulent momentum into high density gas at high rates.

Wu, Benjamin; Tan, Jonathan C.; Nakamura, Fumitaka; Christie, Duncan; Li, Qi
2018, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, 70, S57