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Primary singularities of vector fields on surfaces


Unless another thing is stated one works in the C∞ category and manifolds have empty boundary. Let X and Y be vector fields on a manifold M. We say that Y tracks X if [Y, X] = fX for some continuous function f: M→ R. A subset K of the zero set Z(X) is an essential block for X if it is non-empty, compact, open in Z(X) and its Poincaré-Hopf index does not vanishes. One says that X is non-flat at p if its ∞-jet at p is non-trivial. A point p of Z(X) is called a primary singularity of X if any vector field defined about p and tracking X vanishes at p. This is our main result: consider an essential block K of a vector field X defined on a surface M. Assume that X is non-flat at every point of K. Then K contains a primary singularity of X. As a consequence, if M is a compact surface with non-zero characteristic and X is nowhere flat, then there exists a primary singularity of X.

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