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Directions in orbits of geometrically finite hyperbolic subgroups

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 November 2020

Department of Mathematics, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08854, U.S.A. e-mail:


We prove a theorem describing the limiting fine-scale statistics of orbits of a point in hyperbolic space under the action of a discrete subgroup. Similar results have been proved only in the lattice case with two recent infinite-volume exceptions by Zhang for Apollonian circle packings and certain Schottky groups. Our results hold for general Zariski dense, non-elementary, geometrically finite subgroups in any dimension. Unlike in the lattice case orbits of geometrically finite subgroups do not necessarily equidistribute on the whole boundary of hyperbolic space. But rather they may equidistribute on a fractal subset. Understanding the behavior of these orbits near the boundary is central to Patterson–Sullivan theory and much further work. Our theorem characterises the higher order spatial statistics and thus addresses a very natural question. As a motivating example our work applies to sphere packings (in any dimension) which are invariant under the action of such discrete subgroups. At the end of the paper we show how this statistical characterization can be used to prove convergence of moments and to write down the limiting formula for the two-point correlation function and nearest neighbor distribution. Moreover we establish a formula for the 2 dimensional limiting gap distribution (and cumulative gap distribution) which also applies in the lattice case.

Research Article
© Cambridge Philosophical Society 2020

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A subgroup is geometrically finite if the unit neighborhood of its convex core has finite Riemannian volume. Discrete groups whose fundamental domain is a finite-sided polygon are geometrically finite.



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