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### Abstract

In this paper we prove that the Cauchy problem for first-order quasi-linear systems of partial differential equations is ill-posed in Gevrey spaces, under the assumption of an initial ellipticity. The assumption bears on the principal symbol of the first-order operator. Ill-posedness means instability in the sense of Hadamard, specifically an instantaneous defect of Hölder continuity of the flow from ${G}^{\sigma}$ to ${L}^{2}$, where $\sigma \in (0,1)$ depends on the initial spectrum. Building on the analysis carried out by G. Métivier [Remarks on the well-posedness of the nonlinear Cauchy problem, Contemp. Math. 2005], we show that ill-posedness follows from a long-time Cauchy–Kovalevskaya construction of a family of exact, highly oscillating, analytical solutions which are initially close to the null solution, and which grow exponentially fast in time. A specific difficulty resides in the observation time of instability. While in Sobolev spaces, this time is logarithmic in the frequency, in Gevrey spaces it is a power of the frequency. In particular, in Gevrey spaces the instability is recorded much later than in Sobolev spaces.

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