Glacial Erosion in the Finger Lakes Region, New York State

  • K. M. Clayton
Part of the The Geographical Readings series book series (GR)


In areas that have been heavily glaciated the ice may locally have created an entirely new landscape; it may have erased the preglacial land surface and created a new pattern of hills and valleys in its place. Such new relief, consisting of glacial troughs separated by smooth, streamlined interfluves, can well be mistaken for a landscape of sub-aerial origin, modified by the passage of the ice-sheet, but still bearing the pattern of valleys and water partings that existed before. Some glaciated landscapes are indeed of this kind, but there are other areas where careful examination of the evidence suggests a complete discordance between the preglacial valley pattern and that cut by the ice. D. L. Linton (1957) has suggested that the radial arrangement of the troughs of the Western Highlands of Scotland or of the English Lake District was created by the ice, and not inherited from preglacial times. The ice moved transversely to the line of the earlier river valleys, and did so with enough power to cut deep troughs that transect the dismembered remnants of the preglacial valleys. Only the most careful reconstruction can establish the nature of the preglacial relief, and the degree of transformation it has undergone. The Finger Lakes area of upstate New York would seem to offer a landscape of this type.


Water Parting Main Valley Bedrock Floor Glacial Erosion Plateau Surface 
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© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1972

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  • K. M. Clayton

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