Jeffrey Rahl Professor of Earth and Environmental Geoscience

Jeffrey Rahl

Science Addition A113


Professor, Washington and Lee University, Lexingon, VA (2018 to present)

Associate Professor, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA (2012 to 2018)

Assistant Professor, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA (2006 to 2012)

Turner Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan (2005 to 2006)


Ph.D., Geology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2005

M.Phil., Geology, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 2002

B.S., Geology, The University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, 1999


My scientific interests are in tectonics, particularly the processes that control the formation, growth, and erosion of mountain belts. I enjoy incorporating a variety of tools and approaches in my research, including field work, thermochronology, and brittle structural analysis. A major focus of my recent research has involved crystallographic fabric analysis, with a particular emphasis on the mineral quartz. Specific interests include:

  • The tectonic evolution of convergent wedges, such as the modern day Hellenic subduction wedge exposed in Crete, Greece
  • Application of sedimentary provenance tools, including detrital thermochronology, to reveal the long-term erosional history of mountain belts and patterns of sediment dispersal
  • Understanding patterns of Dauphiné twinning in quartz, with potential applications in paleostress analysis

Selected Publications

Levine, J.S.F., and Rahl, J.M., 2021. Subgrain boundaries as sites of melt generation and pathways for melt flow: Implications for rheology from combined chemical and quantitative orientation analysis. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, v. 126. 

Singleton, J.S., Rahl, J.M., and Befus, K.S., 2020. Rheology of a coaxial shear zone in the Virginia Blue Ridge: Wet quartzite dislocation creep at ~250-280°C. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 140, 104-109.

Sequeira, N., Mahato, S., Rahl, J.M., Sarkar, S., and Bhattacharya, A., 2020. The anatomy and origin of a synconvergent Grenvillian-age metamorphic core complex, Chottanagpur gneiss complex, eastern India. Lithosphere, v. 2020, 1, p. 1-26. 

Rahl, J.M., Harbor, D.J., Galli, C.I., and O’Sullivan, P., 2018. Foreland basin record of uplift and exhumation of the Eastern Cordillera, northwest Argentina. Tectonics, v. 37, p. 4,173-4,193. 

Rahl, J.M., McGrew, A.J., Fox, J.A., Latham, J.R., and Gabrielson, T., 2018. Rhomb-dominated crystallographic preferred orientations in incipiently deformed quartz sandstone: A potential paleostress indicator for quartz-rich rocks. Geology, v. 46, p. 195-198.

Levine, J.S.F., Mosher, S., and Rahl, J.M., 2016. The role of subgrain boundaries in partial melting. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 89, p. 181-196.

Rahl, J.M., and Skemer, P.A., 2016. Microstructural evolution and rheology of quartz in a mid-crustal shear zone. Tectonophysics, v. 680, p. 129-139.

Rahl, J.M., Haines, S.H., van der Pluijm, B.A., 2011. Links between orogenic wedge deformation and erosional exhumation: evidence from illite age analysis of fault rock and detrital thermochronology of syntectonic conglomerates in the Spanish Pyrenees. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 307, p. 180-190.

Rahl, J.M., Deckert, H., Brandon, M.T., Ring, U., and Mortimer, N., 2011. Tectonic significance of ductile deformation in low-grade sandstones in the Mesozoic Otago subduction wedge, New Zealand. American Journal of Science, v. 311, p. 27-62.

Oliva-Urcia, B., Rahl, J.M., Schleicher, A.M., and Parés, J.M., 2010. Correlation between the anisotropy of the magnetic susceptibility, strain ellipsoids and X-ray Texture Goniometry in pelitic rocks from Crete. Tectonophysics, v. 486, p. 120-131.

Rahl, J.M., Ehlers, T.A., and van der Pluijm, B.A., 2007. Quantifying transient erosion of orogens with detrital thermochronology from syntectonic basin deposits. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 256, p. 147-161. 

Rahl, J.M., Anderson, K., Brandon, M.T., and Fassoulas, C., 2005. Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material thermometry of low-grade metamorphic rocks: calibration and application to high-pressure, low-temperature rocks in Crete, Greece. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 240, p. 339-354.

Fassoulas, C., Rahl, J.M., Ague, J.J., and Henderson, K., 2004. Patterns and conditions of deformation in the Plattenkalk nappe, Crete, Greece: A preliminary study. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece, v. 36, p. 1626-1635.

Rahl, J.M., Fassoulas, C., and Brandon, M.T., 2004.  Exhumation of high-pressure metamorphic rocks within an active convergent margin, Crete, Greece: A field guide.  Field trip guidebook for the 32nd International Geological Congress.

Rahl, J.M., Reiners, P.W., Campbell, I.H., Nicolescu, S., and Allen, C.M., 2003. Combined single-grain (U-Th)/He and U/Pb dating of detrital zircons from the Navajo Sandstone, Utah.  Geology, v. 31, p. 761-764.

Rahl, J.M., McGrew, A.J., and Foland, K.A., 2002.  Transition from contraction to extension in the Northeastern Basin and Range:  new evidence from the Copper Mountains, Nevada. Journal of Geology, v. 110, p. 179-194.

Goldman, D., Campbell, S.M., and Rahl, J.M., 2002.  Three-Dimensionally Preserved Specimens of Amplexograptus (Ordovician, Graptolithina) from the North American Midcontinent:  Taxonomic and Biostratigraphic Significance.  Journal of Paleontology. v. 76, p. 921-927.