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Erosion by Glaciers

Features created by glacial erosion are may be massive, like hanging valleys and horns, or smaller, like glacial striations.

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The Finger Lakes

The Finger Lakes

Credit: NASA
Source: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82448&src=eoa-iotd
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Finger Lakes in upstate New York are what is left from fingers of ice from a large Pleistocene glacier.

Amazing But True!

  • The Finger Lakes are deep. At its deepest, Cayuga Lake is 435’ deep, 53’ below sea level.
  • The lakes contain a lot of glacial sediment.
  • The lakes were carved by glaciers during several glacial advances.
  • During the glacial advances, ice covered all of New York and much of Pennsylvania.
  • Credit: NASA
    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ISS031-E-123071.jpg
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Finger lakes as seen from space [Figure2]

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With the links below, learn more about the Finger Lakes. Then answer the following questions.

  1. What was the landscape like before the fingers of ice carved out the lake beds?
  2. What is the glacial history of the region?
  3. Why did the ice flow in the opposite direction from the way the rivers had flowed?
  4. What was happening beneath the glacier that led to the features that are now seen in the Finger Lakes region?
  5. Describe the processes that create glacial moraines.
  6. Why is there water in these old glacial basins?

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