A comprehensive seismic reflection profile investigation of the New York Finger Lakes has revealed the extent of bedrock erosion and nature of sediment fill beneath the lakes.Bedrock deepens to the south, where gorgelike profiles have been eroded to as much as 304 m below sea level and infilled with up to 275 m of late Quaternary age (< 14 ka) sediment. We propose a working hypothesis that invokes ice streaming and pressurized subglacial meltwater and sediment to account for regional geomorphology. This working hypothesis is consistent with recent concepts of the collapse of continental ice sheets via ice streaming and the marine isotopic record for a meltwater spike at 13-14 ka. The Finger Lakes may provide a critical testing ground for deglaciation models of the southern Laurentide ice sheet because they contain a thick, well-preserved, and now seismically defined record of the deglaciation process.

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