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The region is a basin or watershed, because it is surrounded by higher 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.
The Columbia Mountains consist of three parallel north–south ranges (Purcell, Selkirk and Monashee) with sharp peaks of 2,000–3,000 m separated by long, narrow valleys occupied by Kootenay Lake and the Columbia River.
These mountains consist mainly of sedimentary and intrusive rocks of Cretaceous (146 to 65.5 million years ago), Triassic (248 to 206 million years ago) and Jurassic (199.6 to 145.5 million years ago) ages, and contain many mineral deposits.
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.The Fraser River has cut deeply into the bedrock in the southern part of the plateau to form the spectacular Fraser River Canyon. Another upland area of mainly Jurassic lava rocks with some recent volcanoes, the plateau contains the headwaters of the Stikine River.