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Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes

April 2nd, 2009 Category: Lakes

Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes - March 19th, 2009

Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes - March 19th, 2009

The Finger Lakes are a chain of lakes in the west-central section of Upstate New York, south of Lake Ontario. There are actually eleven lakes in the region, but only seven of the largest are commonly identified as the Finger Lakes.

The lakes are mainly linear in shape, each one oriented on a north-south axis, which reminded early map-makers of the fingers of a hand. The two longest, Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake, are among the deepest in America. Both are close to 40 miles (64 km) from end to end, but never more than 3.5 miles (5,600 m) wide.

Cayuga is the longest (38.1 miles (61.3 km)), but Seneca the largest in total area. Seneca is the deepest (618 feet, 188.4 m), followed by Cayuga (435 feet, 132.6 m), with the bottoms well below sea level.

The Finger Lakes from east to west (the first seven being commonly identified as Finger Lakes): Otisco Lake, Skaneateles Lake, Owasco Lake, Cayuga Lake, Seneca Lake, Keuka Lake, Canandaigua Lake, Honeoye Lake, Canadice Lake, Hemlock Lake and Conesus Lake.

Oneida Lake (center right), to the northeast of Syracuse, New York, is sometimes included as the “thumb,” although it is shallow and somewhat different in character from the rest. Here, due to its shallow waters, it is white and covered with ice while the other deeper lakes are not.

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