Natural History
Formation of Waterbodies and Landforms within Monroe & Neighboring Counties

Great Lakes & The Finger Lakes
      Here in New York we are lucky enough to have the worlds largest body of fresh water right at our fingertips. The Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes were both formed by glaciers. They were formed by the advancing and retreating of glaciers over thousands of years. Lake Ontario was formed between 10,000 to 14,000 years ago.

      The Finger Lakes started off as northward-flowing streams. The old stream valleys were carved out by the glaciers and later, as the glaciers retreated, the valleys were filled with water and formed what we now know today to be the Finger Lakes.

Kettle Ponds
      A Kettle Pond is a small body of water that was formed more than 15,000 years ago when a chuck of retreating glaciers melted, leaving a large pond. Here in Monroe County, we have Mendon Ponds Park that is home to many kettle ponds. Devil's Bathtub is one of the most well known kettle ponds within the park and Monroe County. To the right, there is a picture of Devil's Bathtub taken in the fall.

     As a glacier moves across a landform, it gathers the current features of the land and reburies them within underlying soil and rock layers. This movement sculpts the landscape into elongated egg shaped hills. Here in New York State, over 900 drumlins can be found located near Palmyra. These hills are believed to have been formed as an ice sheet moved towards the south across New York State. To the left is a picture of drumlins found near Auburn, New York.



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Page last updated: February 5, 2020