With an abundance of physiographic features related to the glaciers that once covered the area, Western New York is an ideal location for those who study glacial geology. Herman La Roy Fairchild came to the University of Rochester in 1888 as the first professor with a primary interest in geology. Like many scientists of his day, Fairchild taught classes in many disciplines including geology, botany, zoology, physiology, and physical geography. In one of his first publications about the glacial geology of Western New York, Fairchild uses direct, concise prose to describe the glacial features of the area. Fairchild describes the underlying bedrock geology, discusses the direction of ice flow and the thickness of the ice sheet that once covered the region, and details the extent and location of glacial deposits such as moraine, drumlins, kames, and eskers. A large section about glacial lakes foreshadows Fairchild’s increasing expertise on the topic. Those interested in an updated description of the glacial features of Western New York should read Y.W. Isachsen’s Geology of New York: A Simplified Account.
This work, originally published in 1897, is reprinted by Milne Library at the State University of New York College at Geneseo as part of the Genesee Valley Historical Reprints series. The Genesee Valley Historical Collection is Milne Library’s largest and most accessible collection of local history materials. Its geographical scope covers the eight counties surrounding the Genesee River in New York State: Allegany, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Steuben and Wyoming. For more information, see: http://go.geneseo.edu/gvhr.