Journal of the European Mathematical Society


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Volume 16, Issue 9, 2014, pp. 1817–1848
DOI: 10.4171/JEMS/476

Singularities of theta divisors and the geometry of $\mathcal A_5$

Gavril Farkas[1], Samuel Grushevsky[2], R. Salvati Manni[3] and Alessandro Verra

(1) Institut für Mathematik, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Rudower Chaussee 25, Raum 1.401, 10099, Berlin, Germany
(2) Department of Mathematics, Stony Brook University, NY 11794-3651, Stony Brook, USA
(3) Dipartimento di Matematica, Università di Roma La Sapienza, Piazzale A. Moro 2, 00185, Roma, Italy

We study the codimension two locus $H$ in $\mathcal A_g$ consisting of principally polarized abelian varieties whose theta divisor has a singularity that is not an ordinary double point. We compute the class $[H]\in CH^2(\mathcal A_g)$ for every $g$. For $g=4$, this turns out to be the locus of Jacobians with a vanishing theta-null. For $g=5$, via the Prym map we show that $H\subset \mathcal A_5$ has two components, both unirational, which we describe completely. We then determine the slope of the effective cone of $\overline{\mathcal A_5}$ and show that the component $\overline{N_0'}$ of the Andreotti-Mayer divisor has minimal slope and the Iitaka dimension $\kappa(\overline{\mathcal A_5}, \overline{N_0'})$ is equal to zero.

Keywords: Theta divisor, moduli space of principally polarized abelian varieties, effective cone, Prym variety

Farkas Gavril, Grushevsky Samuel, Salvati Manni R., Verra Alessandro: Singularities of theta divisors and the geometry of $\mathcal A_5$. J. Eur. Math. Soc. 16 (2014), 1817-1848. doi: 10.4171/JEMS/476