The Stacks project

\begin{equation*} \DeclareMathOperator\Coim{Coim} \DeclareMathOperator\Coker{Coker} \DeclareMathOperator\Ext{Ext} \DeclareMathOperator\Hom{Hom} \DeclareMathOperator\Im{Im} \DeclareMathOperator\Ker{Ker} \DeclareMathOperator\Mor{Mor} \DeclareMathOperator\Ob{Ob} \DeclareMathOperator\Sh{Sh} \DeclareMathOperator\SheafExt{\mathcal{E}\mathit{xt}} \DeclareMathOperator\SheafHom{\mathcal{H}\mathit{om}} \DeclareMathOperator\Spec{Spec} \newcommand\colim{\mathop{\mathrm{colim}}\nolimits} \newcommand\lim{\mathop{\mathrm{lim}}\nolimits} \newcommand\Qcoh{\mathit{Qcoh}} \newcommand\Sch{\mathit{Sch}} \newcommand\QCohstack{\mathcal{QC}\!\mathit{oh}} \newcommand\Cohstack{\mathcal{C}\!\mathit{oh}} \newcommand\Spacesstack{\mathcal{S}\!\mathit{paces}} \newcommand\Quotfunctor{\mathrm{Quot}} \newcommand\Hilbfunctor{\mathrm{Hilb}} \newcommand\Curvesstack{\mathcal{C}\!\mathit{urves}} \newcommand\Polarizedstack{\mathcal{P}\!\mathit{olarized}} \newcommand\Complexesstack{\mathcal{C}\!\mathit{omplexes}} \newcommand\Pic{\mathop{\mathrm{Pic}}\nolimits} \newcommand\Picardstack{\mathcal{P}\!\mathit{ic}} \newcommand\Picardfunctor{\mathrm{Pic}} \newcommand\Deformationcategory{\mathcal{D}\!\mathit{ef}} \end{equation*}

Lemma 10.71.5. Let $R$ be a Noetherian local ring with maximal ideal $\mathfrak m$. Let $M$ be a nonzero finite $R$-module. Then $\text{depth}(M)$ is equal to the smallest integer $i$ such that $\mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^ i_ R(R/\mathfrak m, M)$ is nonzero.

Proof. Let $\delta (M)$ denote the depth of $M$ and let $i(M)$ denote the smallest integer $i$ such that $\mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^ i_ R(R/\mathfrak m, M)$ is nonzero. We will see in a moment that $i(M) < \infty $. By Lemma 10.62.18 we have $\delta (M) = 0$ if and only if $i(M) = 0$, because $\mathfrak m \in \text{Ass}(M)$ exactly means that $i(M) = 0$. Hence if $\delta (M)$ or $i(M)$ is $> 0$, then we may choose $x \in \mathfrak m$ such that (a) $x$ is a nonzerodivisor on $M$, and (b) $\text{depth}(M/xM) = \delta (M) - 1$. Consider the long exact sequence of Ext-groups associated to the short exact sequence $0 \to M \to M \to M/xM \to 0$ by Lemma 10.70.6:

\[ \begin{matrix} 0 \to \mathop{\mathrm{Hom}}\nolimits _ R(\kappa , M) \to \mathop{\mathrm{Hom}}\nolimits _ R(\kappa , M) \to \mathop{\mathrm{Hom}}\nolimits _ R(\kappa , M/xM) \\ \phantom{0\ } \to \mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^1_ R(\kappa , M) \to \mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^1_ R(\kappa , M) \to \mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^1_ R(\kappa , M/xM) \to \ldots \end{matrix} \]

Since $x \in \mathfrak m$ all the maps $\mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^ i_ R(\kappa , M) \to \mathop{\mathrm{Ext}}\nolimits ^ i_ R(\kappa , M)$ are zero, see Lemma 10.70.8. Thus it is clear that $i(M/xM) = i(M) - 1$. Induction on $\delta (M)$ finishes the proof. $\square$


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