Putting it All Into Perspective

By Carmelo “Mel” Russo

Some of us like to think that we live around the best, or maybe the biggest, or perhaps the deepest, or possibly the longest lake. Sometimes when we think we’re in the superlative, it’s good to review the statistics and put everything back into perspective.

There are eleven Finger Lakes in all. These ore listed, from west to east, in the table below. ┬áSeneca is the deepest (650′) and Cayuga is the longest (40 miles). As we review the data on these two “giant” bodies of water as compared to the rest of the Finger Lakes, we can sense a feeling or pride since we do live near the longest, the deepest and the biggest Finger Lakes.

One should wonder why the most expensive properties are not located on the deepest, largest and least crowded of the Finger Lakes. In contrast, Canandaigua, Skaneateles, and Keuka seem to carry the highest priced properties per unit of front foot. Even though they are merely pint sized lakes compared to Seneca and Cayuga. Moreover, Seneca and Cayuga are the only Finger Lakes that offer navigable access to the barge canal system.

Conversely, when compared to the Great Lakes, even the largest of the Finger Lakes is dwarfed. The Great Lakes are the greatest contiguous mass of fresh water in the world.

 

Lake Name Max Depth Length Max Width Surface Area* Surface Elevation
feet miles miles square miles feet above
sea level
Finger Lakes
Conesius 59 7.8 0.8 5.6 818
Hemlock 96 7.3 0.5 3.2 905
Canadice 91 3.2 0.5 1.3 1,099
Honeoye 35 4.1 0.8 3.5 818
Canadaigua 273 17.6 1.5 17.6 687
Keuka 186 19.6 2.2 22.3 709
Seneca 650 34.5 3.2 73.9 444
Cayuga 435 40.0 3.5 76.4 384
Owasco 177 11.1 1.3 10.0 710
Skaneateles 287 15.1 1.4 14.0 867
Otisco 66 5.4 0.8 3.8 784
Great Lakes
Superior 1,333 350 160 31,820 602
Huron 750 206 152 23,010 580
Michigan 924 307 117 22,400 580
Erie 210 241 57 9,930 572
Ontario 778 193 53 7,540 246

* Some of the data here are calculated estimates.