Princeton-Oliver-Penticton Geotour


Location ID: 20-NBC-GT3



Okanagan  Geology

The Okanagan Valley is located in the interior of BC and is about 200 km long and 20 km wide. Okanagan bedrock geology is primarily comprised of basaltic lava flows, intrusive granites, carbonaceous sedimentary beds, and foliated gneiss. Most of the surface features were formed by erosion and deposition resulted by glaciation. Large gravel, sand and silt deposits were left by glacial activity during the Pleistocene epoch which was between 11,000 and 9,000 years ago. Features such as deltas and alluvial fans were formed by sediments that were eroded by water and wind after they were deposited by the glaciers.


The White Lake Formation

The clastic sedimentary rocks in the south Okanagan are part of the White Lake Formation. The grain sizes here range from clay size particles to boulders. A paleo-river system was active 55-34 million years ago and deposited the sedimentary rocks seen today. Volcanic rocks integrated in some conglomerates are found in some areas and imply that the sedimentary rocks are younger.

The Okanagan Valley has both plutonic and extrusive igneous rocks. The extrusive rocks are part of Marama Formation and are usually felsic such as Dacite. 55 to 34 million years ago during the Eocene period, there was volcanic activity in the Okanagan. These formed mountains seen today including Giant’s Head, Knox Mountain, Mount Boucherie and Munson Mountain. Plutonic rocks in this area are normally granite or granodiorite and are associated with the Okanagan Valley Fault. In some locations, these rocks are metamorphosed. Skaha Bluffs and Trout Creek Canyon are good examples of these.

The rocks in the east side Okanagan Valley are composed of metamorphic and plutonic rocks. In the north, the rocks are primarily composed of the Monashee Gneiss which is over 2 billion years old. In the south side, Okanagan Metamorphic Complex rocks are dominant. These rocks are mylonitic gneiss.


Gigapan Images

Princeton Fossil Beds – Vernon Ave. (20-POP-JS-01)

Red Wall near Kettle Valley Railway Trail (20-POP-JS-02_1)

Red Wall near Kettle Valley Railway Trail (20-POP-JS-02_2)

Blackburn Coal Mine Fossil Site (20-POP-JS-03)

Ollala Tephra (20-POP-JS-05)

Dusty Mac Mine (20-POP-JS-06)

White Lake Formation (20-POP-JS-07)

Glaciolacustrine Sediments  (20-POP-JS-08-1)

Glaciolacustrine Sediments  (20-POP-JS-08-2)

Naramata Gneiss (20-POP-JS-09)

Naramata Gneiss (20-POP-JS-09-2)

Giants Head

Nicola Volcanics


White Lake Basin

Vaseux Gneiss

Cache Creek

Hope slide

Copper Mountain

Highland Valley Copper

Marron Valley Volcano

Marron Valley Volcano – Take 2

 Virtual Field School

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Use the links below to access more information for class exercises, data and other useful information.

Sample Images

Rock Chips

Images of rock chips from locations mentioned on interactive map, with magnifying function

Document Library

GeoTour Guide


Geological History


Road Trip!


First Nation Resources

Pre-Historic Mining

A look at prehistory of First Nations peoples and the uses of natural products in everyday life.


The process and impacts of colonialism on First Nations peoples

Intro to UNDRIP

Slides providing a simple explanation of the United Nations Directive on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Mining Evolution

Taking a look at the evolution of mining in BC and the role of Indigenous Peoples as it changed over time.

Laws & Regulations

BC Regulations

Regulations pertaining to the collection of materials within British Columbia