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British Columbia is a land of diversity and contrast within small areas.

Coastal landscapes, characterized by high, snow-covered mountains rising above narrow fjords and inlets, contrast with the broad forested upland of the central interior and the plains of the northeast.

In the southern Rockies the sharp, jagged sedimentary rock peaks from the Palaeozoic era (542 to 251 million years ago) differ from the older more rounded, lower peaks of Proterozoic era (2.5 billion to 542 million years ago) to the north.

The Rocky Mountains terminate south of the The western boundary of the Rocky Mountains is the narrow Rocky Mountain Trench — the longest valley in North America, extending for 1,400 km from Montana to the Yukon and along the length of BC.

The fourth range of the group, the Cariboo Mountains northwest of the Thompson River, is composed of sedimentary rocks of Proterozoic age which appear to have fewer mineral deposits.

The Interior Plateau, made up of broad and gently rolling uplands, covers central British Columbia.

The highest peak in BC, Fairweather Mountain (4,663 m), straddles the Alaska border in the St Elias Mountains just northwest of the Coast Mountains.

Many of the rocks are lavas of Cretaceous and Tertiary (65.5 million to 2.6 million years ago) geological ages with apparently little mineralization except around the plateau edges.Much of the development of resource-based economic activity in the province has been concerned with linking these separate regions together into a broader provincial economy.The northern half of the province is virtually uninhabited north of Prince Rupert and is cut off from the Pacific Ocean by the Alaska Panhandle.The intense "Britishness" of earlier times is referred to in the province's name, which originated with Queen Victoria and was officially proclaimed in 1858.Regions British Columbia has two main regions, often called "the Coast" and "the Interior." These two regions both have numerous contrasts and variations within them.

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