Ergodic Theory and Dynamical Systems

The nub of an automorphism of a totally disconnected, locally compact group

GEORGE A. WILLIS

Mathematical and Physical Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia email george.willis@newcastle.edu.au

Abstract

To any automorphism, , of a totally disconnected, locally compact group, , there is associated a compact, -stable subgroup of , here called the nub of , on which the action of is ergodic. Ergodic actions of automorphisms of compact groups have been studied extensively in topological dynamics and results obtained transfer, via the nub, to the study of automorphisms of general locally compact groups. A new proof that the contraction group of is dense in the nub is given, but it is seen that the two-sided contraction group need not be dense. It is also shown that each pair , with compact and ergodic, is an inverse limit of pairs that have ‘finite depth’ and that analogues of the Schreier refinement and Jordan–Hölder theorems hold for pairs with finite depth.

(Received January 20 2012)

(Revised November 07 2012)