We prove that prethermalization is a generic property of gapped local
    many-body quantum systems, subjected to small perturbations, in any spatial
    dimension. More precisely, let $H_0$ be a Hamiltonian, spatially local in $d$
    spatial dimensions, with a gap $\Delta$ in the many-body spectrum; let $V$ be a
    spatially local Hamiltonian consisting of a sum of local terms, each of which
    is bounded by $\epsilon \ll \Delta$. Then, the approximation that quantum
    dynamics is restricted to the low-energy subspace of $H_0$ is accurate, in the
    correlation functions of local operators, for stretched exponential time scale
    $\tau \sim \exp[(\Delta/\epsilon)^a]$ for any $a<1/(2d-1)$. This result does
    not depend on whether the perturbation closes the gap. It significantly extends
    previous rigorous results on prethermalization in models where $H_0$ had an
    integer-valued spectrum. We infer the robustness of quantum simulation in
    low-energy subspaces, the existence of “scarring” (strongly athermal
    correlation functions) in gapped systems subject to generic perturbations, and
    the robustness of quantum information in non-frustration-free gapped phases
    with topological order.

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