Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

B.K. Linsley


The Kenyon Island Group lies within the Great Sacandaga Lake's largest and most unnavigable shallow water shoal. The shoal measures approximately 5.0 mi2. The Kenyon Islands, including Mead and Deer Islands, occupy approximately 3/4 mi2 during the months of annual high lake level. During the late shallow water season of 1998, a NE to SW diagonal transect of nine core samples were collected by a Geoprobe coring device, with recoveries between 8' and 16' deep sections. In this study these cores were used to identify the stratigraphy, classify the sediment grain sizes, evaluate the abundance of economic minerals, and calculate the most cost effective and environmentally sound method of deepening the lakebed for navigation and recreational purposes and reconfiguring the new real property created.
Here I present evidence for the existence of a previously unidentified large moraine field, of approximately 12 mi2, located between two different end moraines of the Pleistocene Epoch. Today, about 1/3 of that moraine field surrounds the Kenyon Island Group, within the shorelines of the Great Sacandaga Lake. The south and east end moraine is visible in an arcuate path which includes the two major Kenyon Islands and Deer Island. The south and east end moraine is approximately 3/4 mile wide and is confined by the valley walls of the Sacandaga Basin. This end moraine must have been at least 300 feet high during the Pleistocene Epoch. The north and west moraine was deposited before the south and east end moraine and is also visible in exposures around the lake. This forms moraine rock fields in arcuate bands, which are confined by the valley walls of the Sacandaga Basin. The north and west end moraine was originally 1/2 miles wide and must have stood at least 120 feet high.
The moraine field contains all the classic landmarks including kames, kettle lakes, eskers, drumlins, flutes and fossil streambeds. The moraine field sediments that exist are no more than 45 feet thick beneath the lakebed and 45 to 120 feet thick outside the shorelines and above bedrock. The bedrock maybe Cambrian, including Little Falls Dolomite, Theresa Dolomite and/or Potsdam Sandstone.
This thesis proposes a remedy involving dredging and earth-moving heavy equipment to permanently deepen part of the lakebed of the Great Sacandaga Lake that is currently of little use because the area is typically too shallow for regular lake navigation. If there are minerals within the sediments of the study area that are of current economic importance and have values significant enough to pay for a lakebed deepening, the geochemistry, mineralogy and mineral chemistry will reveal them. These minerals can then be identified and evaluated as the mechanism that will support the tremendous costs associated with such a major deepening effort. The long term outcome of a Great Sacandaga Lake deepening, beside improving the navigational, recreational, and fisheries of the lake will create room for an additional 200 billion gallons of water, which could be priceless in the next frontier.
The moraine field sediment profile in the study area may be unique to the whole of the Great Sacandaga Lake. The question of dredging the lakebed versus simpler earth-moving heavy equipment to reconfigure the lakebed, anywhere else in the Great Sacandaga Lake, will most certainly require further research and could yield different results.


Ambrosino, A.M., 2001. Sediment characteristics around the Kenyon Island Group, Great Sacandaga Lake (NY): economic potential of dredging and land reclamation. Unpublished MSc. thesis, State University of New York at Albany. 194 pp., +x
University at Albany Science Library call number: SCIENCE Oversize (*) QE 40 Z899 2001 A43

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