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Christopher 'Chuck' Bailey

Professor and Chair

Office: McGlothlin-Street Hall 227
Email: [[cmbail]]
Office Phone: 757 221 2445
Research Areas: Structural Geology, Tectonics, & Landscape History

  • Ph.D. & M.A., Johns Hopkins University
  • B.S., William & Mary
Research Interests

Structural Geology, Tectonics, & Landscape History

I'm a structural geologist whose research focuses on the geometry and tectonic history of deformed rocks as well as the physical and chemical processes that control rock deformation.  I am particularly interested in ductile fault zones (high-strain zones) and work to understand both the deformation path experienced by mylonitic rocks as well as elucidate the tectonic history recorded by these important crustal structures.

With William & Mary undergraduates I’ve studied deformed rocks in the Appalachian Mountains, the low deserts of southern Arizona, the high plateaus of Utah, the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, and most recently in Oman examining its vast and well-exposed ophiolite.  Although the Appalachians Mountains have been studied for over two centuries, many key aspects of their history remain unanswered. Our studies in the Blue Ridge and Piedmont provinces are wide-ranging and integrate structural analysis with petrology, sedimentology, geochronology, and geologic mapping.  In Utah our research focuses on understanding the interplay between volcanism, tectonics, and surface processes in the transition region between the Colorado Plateau and the Basin & Range.  

Over the past 24 years I’ve advised more than 150 undergraduate thesis projects at William & Mary. 

Follow me on W&M Blogs

Current Projects
  • Strain and Vorticity Analysis of Deformed Rocks
  • Structural Geometry and Tectonic History of the Virginia Appalachians
  • Geology and Landscape History of the High Plateaus, Utah
  • Emplacement of the Semail Ophiolite, Oman
Selected Publications (*undergraduate co-author)

Hatcher, R. D., Jr., and Bailey, C.M., 2019, Structural Geology, Oxford University Press, 634 p. Link to Oxford University Press (

Owens, B.E., Buckwaldt, R., and Bailey, C.M., 2019, New U-Pb Zircon Ages for the Petersburg Batholith, Piedmont Province, Virginia: Southeastern Geology, v. 53, p. 215-230.

Owens, B.E., and Bailey, C.M., 2018, Geology of the Southside Virginia, Piedmont: Virginia Geological Field Conference Guidebook, 38 p.

Bailey, C.M., and Jaye, S., 2017.  From the Blue Ridge to the Beach: Geological Field Excursions across Virginia. Geological Society of America Field Guide 47. 174 p. Link to GSA Bookstore

Bailey, C.M., Spears, A. V., and Marshall, A., 2017. From Laurentia to Iapetus: Traversing the Blue Ridge-Piedmont terrane boundary in central Virginia, in Bailey, C.M., and Jaye, S., 2017, From the Blue Ridge to the Beach: Geological Field Excursions across Virginia. Geological Society of America Field Guide 47. p. 59-76. 

Bailey, C.M., and Coiner, L.V., eds. 2014. Elevating Geoscience in the Southeastern United States: New Ideas about Old Terranes. Geological Society of America Field Guide 35. 284 p. Link to GSA Bookstore

Bailey, C.M., Rosenthal, J.*, and Quinlan, K.* 2014. Geology of the Scottsville Mesozoic basin, Virginia, in Bailey, C.M., and Coiner, L.V., eds., Elevating Geoscience in the Southeastern United States: New Ideas about Old Terranes. Geological Society of America Field Guide 35, p. 234-254.

Johnson, T.A.*, Hollis, J.S.*, Bailey, C.M., Jensen, A.*, Hahn, M.*, Quinlan, K.*, Owens, B.E., and Marshall, A.* 2014. Geologic map of the Alberene quadrangle, Virginia. Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources Publication 180. 1:24,000-scale geologic map and text. Download a copy 

Bailey, C.M., and Owens, B.E. 2012. Traversing suspect terranes in the central Virginia Piedmont: from Proterozoic anorthosites to modern earthquakes, in Eppes, M.C. and Bartholomew, M.J., eds., From the Blue Ridge to the Coastal Plain: Field Excursions in the Southeastern United States. Geological Society of America Field Guide 29. p. 327-344. Link to GSA Bookstore

Bailey, C.M., Wooton, K.M.*, Forte, A.M.*, Hasty, B.A.*, Goldenbaum, L.A.*, and Shirvell, C.R.*  2012. Geologic Map of the Swift Run 7.5’ quadrangle, Virginia. Virginia Division Geology and Mineral Resources Publication 179. 1:24,000-scale geologic map and text. Download a copy 

Marchetti D.W., Harris, M.S., Bailey, C.M., Cerling T.E., Bergman, S.* 2011. Timing of glaciation and last glacial maximum paleoclimate estimates from the Fish Lake Plateau, Utah. Quaternary Reviews, v. 75, p. 183-195.

Southworth, S., Aleinikoff, J. N., Bailey, C. M., Burton, W. C., Tollo, R. P., Crider, E. A., and Denenny, D. M., 2009, Geologic Map of the Shenandoah National Park Region, Virginia. U.S. Geological Survey Report 2009-1153, 96 p., 1 plate at 1:100,000 scale. Download a copy

Bailey, C.M., Polvi, L.E.*, and Forte, A.M.* 2007. Pure shear dominated high-strain zones in basement terranes. Geological Society of America Memoir 200, p. 93-108.

Bailey, C.M., Peters, S.E.*, Morton, J.*, and Shotwell N.L.* 2007. The Mechum River Formation, Virginia Blue Ridge: a record of Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic tectonics in southeastern Laurentia. American Journal of Science, v. 307, p. 1-22. 

Forte, A.M.* and Bailey, C.M. 2007. Testing the utility of the porphyroclast hyperbolic distribution method of kinematic vorticity analysis. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 29, p. 983-1001.

Bailey, C.M., Harris, M.S., and Marchetti, D.W. 2007. Geologic overview of the Fish Lake Plateau, Utah. Utah Geological Association Publication, v. 36, p. 47-56.

Bailey, C.M., Southworth, S., and Tollo, R.P.  2006. Tectonic History of the Blue Ridge, north-central Virginia: in Pazzaglia, F. J., ed, Excursions in Geology and History: Field Trips in the Middle Atlantic States. Geological Society of America Field Guide 8, p. 113-134.

Bailey, C. M., Francis, B. E., and Fahrney, E. E. 2004. Strain and vorticity analysis of transpressional high-strain zones from the Virginia Piedmont, USA in Flow Processes in Faults and Shear Zones. Geological Society of London Special Publication 224, p. 249-264.

Bailey, C.M. and Eyster, E.L.* 2003. General shear deformation in the Pinaleno Mountains metamorphic core complex, Arizona. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 25, p. 1883-1892. 

Davidson, C., Davis, K.J.*, Bailey, C.M., Tape C.H.*, Singleton, J.*, and Singer, B. 2003. Age, origin, and significance of brittle faulting and pseudotachylyte along the Coast shear zone, Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Geology, v. 31, p. 39-42.

Bailey, C.M., Giorgis S.*, and Coiner L.V.* 2002. Tectonic inversion and basement buttressing: an example from the central Appalachian, Blue Ridge province. Journal of Structural Geology, v. 24, p. 925-936.

Berquist, C.R. Jr., and Bailey, C.M. 1999. Late Cenozoic reverse faulting in the Fall Zone, southeastern Virginia. Journal of Geology, v. 107, p. 727-732.

Bailey, C.M. and Peters, S.E.* 1998. Glaciogenic sedimentation in the Late Neoproterozoic Mechum River Formation, Virginia. Geology, v. 27, p. 623-626. 



100: Weather, Climate, & Change (Syllabus 2018)

110: Physical Geography: Earth's Environmental Systems (Syllabus 2018)

307: Planetary Geology (Syllabus 2018)

310: Regional Field Geology

311: Field Methods for the Earth and Environmental Scientist (Syllabus 2017)

323: Earth Structure & Dynamics (Syllabus 2018)

404: Introduction to Geologic Research

425: Structural Geology Seminar (Syllabus 2016)