Lake Cayuga is the lineal descendant of a long line of ancestral waters, both glacial and land-locked. The lacustrine history of the Cayuga Valley exceeds in variety and interest that of all the other Finger Lakes valleys, especially for the reason of low altitude, the valley being nearest to sea level.
Previous to the Glacial Period no standing water was held in Cayuga Valley, and perhaps not in any valley in eastern America. The valley was carved in preglacial time by a north-flowing river tributary to the master stream, the Ontarian River, in the axis of the Ontario basin (Fig. 1). The constructive, depositional work of the overriding continental ice sheet left a massive filling of drift in the several valleys, which, as a wide plain, constitutes the barrier at the north ends of the existing lakes in central New York.
The lacustrine history here related began with the . . .