It has always been my understanding that ours are old lakes (Waneta and Lamoka Lakes), part of the Finger Lakes. The water from Waneta flows down through the Keuka Outlet to Keuka Lake. They are small lakes, but larger than Canadice; and they are called the best-kept secret of the Finger Lakes in articles. It even appears to us on a New York State map that at one time they could have been the “missing right leg branch” of Keuka.
Please clarify what constitutes a Finger Lake. Are there ten in all for both hand prints? We are protective of our beautiful lakes and are offended to often be left out of the area’s articles.
— Nancy, Waneta Lake
Dr. Bruce Gilman, from the Department of Environmental Conservation at Finger Lakes Community College, helped us answer this question.
“The eleven Finger Lakes occupy deep glacial troughs that were formed as the ice sheet selectively eroded pre-existing stream/river beds that were aligned with the basal ice flow direction. Each of the Finger Lakes are formed by trapping water between recessional moraines deposited across the valley floor of a particular trough. Hence, glaciologists refer to the Finger Lakes as being ‘doubly-dammed.’ The southern deposit is regionally known as the Valley Heads Moraine, and in places is over 1000 feet in thickness. The northern moraine deposit varies from lake to lake. If the glacial trough is not doubly-dammed, no Finger Lake is present. This is clearly evident in such locations as the Genesee Valley, Bristol Valley, Middlesex Valley, etc. Interestingly, these valleys did have pro-glacial lakes in them at the end of the Great Ice Age when the retreating ice margin temporarily functioned as the northern dam.
High elevation lakes like Silver Lake, Waneta Lake and Lamoka Lake do not occupy deeply scoured troughs and often have only one moraine deposit across their valleys (the other end of these lakes is simply higher bedrock topography).”