The Finger Lakes, so-called, of central New York are justly famous. The greater scientific interest, however, pertains not to the water bodies but to the physical features which are the cause of the lakes, the valleys, and the drift barriers which imprison the waters. The lakes are incidental effects of glaciation.
The ten valleys which now retain lakes are a minority of the remarkable series of north-sloping valleys that extends from Lake Erie on the west to the Chenango Valley on the east. Eight of the series, without lakes, lie west of the Genesee Valley, the Erian group. East of the Genesee are twenty-one valleys, with or without lakes; the Ontarian group. The valleys and the lakes of the eastern group have been the subject of much popular and scientific description. Those of the western group have been recently described in No. 23 of the appended list of writings.