Cubic curves and totally geodesic subvarieties of moduli space


In this paper we present the first example of a primitive, totally geodesic subvariety $F \subset \mathcal{M}_{g,n}$ with $\mathrm{dim}(F)>1$. The variety we consider is a surface $F \subset \mathcal{M}_{1,3}$ defined using the projective geometry of plane cubic curves. We also obtain a new series of Teichmüller curves in $\mathcal{M}_4$, and new $\mathrm{SL}_2(\mathbb{R})$-invariant varieties in the moduli spaces of quadratic differentials and holomorphic 1-forms.


Curtis T. McMullen

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

Ronen E. Mukamel

Rice University, Houston, TX

Alex Wright

Stanford University, Stanford, CA