Finger Lakes

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The Finger Lakes are a pattern of lakes in the west-central section of Upstate New York in the United States and are a popular tourist destination. The lakes are linear in shape, each lake oriented on a north-south axis. 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, and never more than 3.5 miles (5.6 km) wide. Cayuga is the longest (38.1 miles, 61 km) and Seneca the largest in total area. Seneca is the deepest (618 feet, 188 m), followed by Cayuga (435 feet, 133 m), with their bottoms well below sea level. These largest lakes resemble the others in shape, which collectively reminded early map-makers of the fingers of a hand. Oneida Lake is generally not considered one of the Finger Lakes, but it is sometimes called the "thumb".



The eleven Finger Lakes from east to west are: Otisco LakeSkaneateles LakeOwasco LakeCayuga LakeSeneca LakeKeuka LakeCanandaigua LakeHoneoye LakeCanadice LakeHemlock LakeConesus Lake

Cazenovia Lake to the east, although smaller, is sometimes called "the twelfth Finger Lake," because it is similar in shape, located in Appalachian hill terrain, with a historic village linked to other Finger Lakes by US 20. It may have been formed in the same manner as the Finger Lakes, as satellite photos show three valleys similar in character and spacing to the Finger Lakes east of Otisco Lake. The first is the Tully Valley, which includes a chain of small lakes at the south end that could be a "Finger Lake" that never formed because of a terminal moraine. The moraine caused the Tioughnioga River to flow south instead of north, the opposite of the other waters of the Finger Lakes. The next two valleys to the east contain Butternut Creek, which flows north, and the East Branch of the Tioughnioga River, which flows south. The next valley contains Limestone Creek, which flows north. The next valley after that contains Cazenovia Lake.

Oneida Lake, 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. Onondaga Lake, though located just north of the Finger Lakes region, is not considered one of the Finger Lakes. As with Oneida and Cazenovia Lakes, it drains into Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

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