A chain of lakes in a glacial valley. These lakes may form when end moraines, particularly a series of recessional moraines, dam meltwater
flowing out from a glacier. Paternoster lakes may also form due to differential glacial erosion of more- and less-resistant bedrock layers.
The less-resistant bedrock layers become low spots where water can accumulate while the more-resistant bedrock
layers form natural dams that allow significant amounts of water to accumulate in the low spot.
Photo: K.A. Lemke. Used with permission.
This chain of lakes in Glacier National Park provides an example of paternoster lakes. In the photo, you are looking toward
the northeast. On the map, north is toward the top. The topographic map shows the lakes and the rivers connecting the lakes in blue. The
photo was taken from the trail shown by a thin dashed black line on the map where the camera is located. The lake in the
foreground is Grinnell Lake. Behind that is Lake Josephine and beyond that you can see a little bit of Swiftcurrent Lake.
These lakes are located in a classic example of a glacially carved U-shaped valley or trough.