The headwaters of the Río Iruya, northwestern Argentina



Jeffrey M. Rahl

Department of Geology

Room 113 Science Addition

Washington and Lee University

116 North Main Street

Lexington, VA 24450

Phone: 540-458-8101

E-mail: rahlj [at]


Research Interests

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, ductile and brittle structural analysis, numerical modeling, and metamorphic petrology. Specific interests include:


1)     The tectonic evolution of convergent wedges, including the modern day Hellenic subduction wedge exposed in Crete, Greece; the Mesozoic Otago wedge in the South Island, New Zealand; and the Spanish Pyrenees

2)     Application of sedimentary provenance tools, including detrital thermochronology, to reveal the long-term erosional history of mountain belts

3)     Intracrystalline deformation in quartz, characterized using electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD)



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

            Advisor: Mark Brandon

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

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

            Advisor: Allen McGrew



Professor, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, 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)

            Supervisors: Ben van der Pluijm and Todd Ehlers



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.


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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 syn-tectonic conglomerates in the Spanish Pyrenees. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 307, p. 180-190. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


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. PDF


last updated: November 2, 2018