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Flowing water and lava.

Liquids are special types of blocks that can freely flow to form rivers, falls, and lakes.



There are currently only two liquids in Minecraft:

Water.png Lava.png
Water Lava

All liquids naturally originate from a source block, which is a liquid block that is completely full. Source blocks that are completely confined by other blocks (whether solid or liquid) cannot start a flow and will render as still. Source blocks that are at least partly liberated will begin to flow, spreading according to very basic fluid dynamics, and will render as flowing, with animated lines demonstrating their direction of flow. The further that flowing liquid blocks are from their source, the "emptier" they will be.

Liquids can interact with each other, and with any other blocks (according to the properties of the affected block). Liquids also exert a sort of pressure on most entities and drops floating within them, carrying them along or down. Most mobs, including players, are able to float and swim in liquids.

It is not possible to obtain a liquid as an item, but a source block can be held using a bucket.

Liquid blocks are considered non-solid, similar to air; as such, when a player tries to place a block into its space, the placement almost always succeeds, and the liquid block is destroyed.


Water flowing down a cliff, demonstrating flowing mechanics.


Liquids have a depth value, which determines how "empty" it is. A source block has depth value of 0. Flowing liquids have a depth value equal to the source's depth + 1, depending on the distance from the source, with a maximum possible value of 7. Once a liquid reaches its maximum "emptiness", the flow stops. Flowing liquid always has a minimum depth of 1 block lower than the surrounding liquid blocks.

Lava in the Overworld has a maximum depth of 3, but in the Nether lava has a maximum depth value of 7.


Once a source block is placed, the liquid spreading procedure begins.

First, the source liquid considers the block directly below. If that block is air or some other type of non-solid block, it is replaced by the liquid (and/or converted into an item, depending on the properties of the block), assigned a depth value of 1, and is added to the collection of liquid blocks considered in the spreading process. The source block is removed from consideration, since the only possible flowing direction from it is downwards.

Solid blocks, and a few non-solid blocks, are unaffected by liquids. If the block under the flow is deemed to be solid, or the block is the liquid source itself, the procedure continues by considering the four blocks around the source. If any of the four blocks are air, or most other non-solid blocks, they are converted to that liquid and are assigned a depth value of the source's depth +1, as long as that value is less than the maximum depth (7); then, they added to the flowing process.

Blocks with a depth value less than the maximum will continue to flow as allowed, while those at the maximum are removed from the flowing process. Note that if all four surrounding blocks are solid, the spreading procedure stops.

Flowing liquid has a speed value that governs how fast the spreading effect takes place. Lava in the Overworld is much slower than water, but in the Nether it moves at the same speed of 1 block every 5 game ticks, or 4 blocks per second.

Flow direction[]

Liquids consider the shortest distance to the edge of a cliff, and prioritize flowing in that direction.

The shape of the ground around a flow is considered when evaluating its spread, giving preference to the creation of water/lava falls, for aesthetic purposes. During the evaluation of horizontal spread, the 5-block area around source and flowing blocks is checked for air one block below the liquid block. These air blocks, and the blocks preceding them, are all converted to liquid blocks with depth level of 1 greater than the current block to establish a simple flow, but are not added to the collection for later consideration.

For example, the flow of water from a single source placed within 7 blocks of an edge will be only one block wide to the edge, and then will fall as a one block wide stream, as demonstrated in the image to the right.


Lava seeping through one layer of dirt.

When particles are fully enabled in the options menu, solid blocks that have air below and liquid above will drip, as a visual indication that only one layer of blocks separates the player from the liquid above. Dripping lava does not cause damage or start fires. It can take several seconds before dripping starts.

Block updates[]

These actions will cause a liquid block to update:

  • Another block is placed into it's space
  • Liquid starts to flow in from an adjacent block
  • An established incoming flow stops

Generated structures never cause block updates to adjacent liquids when they generate. For example, a cave entrance that is created partly below water level at the edge of a body of water/lava will not cause the liquid to flow until it receives a block update. On the other hand, liquids created as part of structure will flow immediately if not completely confined; this includes holes in the bottom of an ocean that open into a ravine below.


When the two liquids interact, the results vary depending on the position of the liquid source.

  • If lava flows vertically into water, it creates stone.
  • If lava flows horizontally into water, it creates cobblestone.
  • If water flows horizontally into flowing lava, a hiss and puff of smoke occurs, but nothing changes.
  • If water flows vertically into flowing lava, either cobblestone or nothing may result.
  • If water flows into a lava source block, it creates obsidian. The lava spring is destroyed in the process, so unlike with cobblestone, obsidian is not renewable with this method.
  • If vertically falling water touches a lava source block on any side, obsidian is created - even if the water would not otherwise run into the lava.



0.0.12aAdded water and lava.
Official release
1.0.0Beta 1.9-pre1Liquid that is suspended above an open area by one block thick of material will seep through the material and drip to the floor. Lava that falls onto water will produce stone, instead of replacing the water.
Beta 1.9-pre5A lava block could be converted into a source block if the following conditions were met:
  • it is bordered by 4 lava sources in a cross-like arrangement
  • the 4 sources are on the same horizontal level as it
  • there is a solid, opaque block underneath it
?Lava source blocks can no longer be created.


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