Characterization of Tangent Cones of Noncollapsed Limits with Lower Ricci Bounds and Applications

Tobias Holck Colding, Aaron Naber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Consider a limit space (MαgαpαGH (Y,dY,p), where the Mαn have a lower Ricci curvature bound and are volume noncollapsed. The tangent cones of Y at a point p ∈ Y are known to be metric cones C(X), however they need not be unique. Let ΩY,p ⊆ MGH be the closed subset of compact metric spaces X which arise as cross sections for the tangents cones of Y at p. In this paper we study the properties of ΩY,p. In particular, we give necessary and sufficient conditions for an open smooth family Ω≡ (X,gs) of closed manifolds to satisfy Ω =ΩY,p for some limit Y and point Ω is the closure of Ω in the set of metric spaces equipped with the Gromov-Hausdorff topology. We use this characterization to construct examples which exhibit fundamentally new behaviors. The first application is to construct limit spaces (Yn, dY, p) with n ≥ 3 such that at p there exists for every 0 ≤ k ≤ n-2 a tangent cone at p of the form ℝk × C(Xn-k-1), where Xn-k-1 is a smooth manifold not isometric to the standard sphere. In particular, this is the first example which shows that a stratification of a limit space Y based on the Euclidean behavior of tangent cones is not possible or even well defined. It is also the first example of a three dimensional limit space with nonunique tangent cones. The second application is to construct a limit space (Y5, dY, p), such that at p the tangent cones are not only not unique, but not homeomorphic. Specifically, some tangent cones are homeomorphic to cones over ℂP2#ℂP̄2 while others are homeomorphic to cones over S4.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-148
Number of pages15
JournalGeometric and Functional Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analysis
  • Geometry and Topology


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