A cave (also known as cavern) is a common terrain feature that generates in the Overworld and the Nether. Caves are usually found underground. They are open spaces of various sizes and shapes that often intersect with each another or with different generated structures, creating vast cave systems. They usually feature plenty of ores and are great places to gather resources, but can be dangerous because of the hostile mobs that spawn in the darkness.
- 1 Generation
- 2 Structure
- 2.1 Carvers
- 2.2 Noise caves
- 2.3 Underground lakes
- 3 History
- 4 Issues
- 5 Gallery
- 6 See also
- 7 References
Caves are underground structures consisting of randomly generated patches of air blocks and lava source blocks (at layer 10 and below), hollowing out an area and exposing other blocks generated with the terrain (such as stones and blobs) in the interior. Their structure typically consists of a series of irregular tunnels branching off and winding in other directions, which may connect to the surface, creating natural entrances to the cave. In jungle biomes, vines generate in caves near the surface. Sand often falls into caves generated near the surface of a desert or beach; craters in the sand can alert the player to caves below the surface. Caves cannot cut through red sand nor snow blocks, despite these generating as a surface block in several biomes.
Caves generate at any altitude up to Y-level 128, and may span from the surface all the way to the bedrock at Y-level 5[until JE 1.18] or -59[upcoming: JE 1.18]. They frequently intersect natural structures such as other caves, dungeons, ravines, and mineshafts. Because of low light levels, hostile mobs and bats often spawn in caves deep underground.
Caves come in two types: carvers and noise caves.
Small caves are primarily located close to sea level and are unlikely to be linked to other caves. Because of their relative shallowness, they are unlikely to contain anything rarer than small deposits of basic ores such as coal and iron. Such caves may have multiple entrances that are naturally lit by sunlight or moonlight. These type of caves almost always feature pools of water/lava within, likely caused by the generation of the water itself.
Medium-sized cave systems are commonly found within reach of other, often smaller caves, which are accessible via mining. These caves frequently contain large deposits of basic ores alongside small repositories of rarer materials. Such caves also regularly contain at least minor water or lava flows as well as the presence of dungeons.
These are large subterranean systems, found deep within the overworld, often close to bedrock. They hold large deposits of essentially every known type of ore - with rarer materials, such as diamonds and emeralds. Note that emerald ore is exclusively generated in mountains biomes. Such systems contain a number of lakes of all types, as well as the presence of major lava and water flows.
There is little to no difference between small, medium, and large caves other than their size and complexity.
Mega caves are huge spacious caves that are extremely rare to be found. They expose many ores and can potentially expose mineshafts. Unlike large caves, mega caves can range from 20 blocks and above in length. They can also be possibly bigger than a small ravine. Mega caves that generate low enough can form giant lava oceans.
During the terrain generation process, large symmetrical and cylindrical or spherical voids of various sizes can infrequently be created underground, which often merge with other cave systems. These unusual type of caves vary from roughly 1 to 27 blocks in height, and from roughly 13 to 30 blocks in diameter, though larger examples are quite rare. Although not particularly of interest, from a mining perspective, they may appear unnaturally regular in comparison to the surrounding terrain. While the smallest rarely contain many ores, the largest can be quite useful for mining as their sheer surface area rivals that of a large ravine.
Connected caverns are large, spacious caverns that is usually the result when multiple small caves merge with each other creating a large, messy, single cave. They are similar to large caves except more messy and spacious, with different layers. These connected caverns usually have waterfalls or lavafalls coming out of the cave ceiling, sometimes even both. They also have different "floor layers", meaning the cave has different stone layers that can be accessed to each other in the same connected cavern, simply by stacking up blocks. Connected caves usually have two to four layers. Usually, small regular cave systems nearby eventually connect to a connected cavern. Caves may connect to a connected cavern from any direction, including from above. Connected caverns are not significantly rare, but can still prove to be a small challenge to find.
Sea-access caves are fundamentally underwater entrances to caves connected to the sea. They generate exclusively on ocean biomes. Even when caves usually generate specifically to avoid water, sea-access caves appear regularly, and are quite often small entrances with seagrass, and kelp if they can generate exposed to the sky. Sometimes, pseudo-sea-access caves are formed by gravel blocks collapsing inside a cave. These generate more often as underwater canyons than regular caves.
Underwater caves are completely flooded caves that may have obsidian along their bottoms formed from lava with the water present throughout, and also magma blocks. They generate exclusively on ocean biomes.
Being completely underwater, only the magma blocks provide any air for entities to breathe, since they generate bubble columns. They have often seagrass, but since they don't generate exposed to sky kelp cannot generate, unlike sea-access caves.
Crevices, also called crack carvers, are deep, long cracks in the ground that are thinner and straighter than canyons and can reach over 90 blocks in depth.
Cheese, spaghetti, and noodle caves
Cheese caves are pocket areas of the underground that come in various sizes. Spaghetti caves are long, narrow caves that wind their way through the underground and are a bit similar to small or medium original caves. Noodle caves are a thinner and squigglier variant of spaghetti caves[Java Edition only][upcoming: JE 1.18]. There are also noise pillars inside cave blobs.
When generating noise caves, the game firstly generates a random noise field, and "smudge" it using a mathematical trick called Perlin noise. These processes then results in a 3D noise image. For cheese caves, the black part of noise image becomes stone, and white part becomes air, making it look like a cheese with many blobs. For spaghetti and noodle caves, the edge of black and white part becomes air, making it look like long and thin spaghetti or noodles. Cheese caves offer large and open spaces, while spaghetti and noodle caves provide channels for connection. The three types of caves are combined to form a complete cave system.
By adjusting noise frequency, hollowness (for cheese caves), and thickness (for spaghetti caves, noodle caves[Java Edition only], and noise pillars), noise caves can become diverse from each other.
All noise caves between Y=31 and sea level (Y=63) are completely flooded.
Aquifers are flooded cave systems used to generate bodies of liquids in noise caves. Aquifers may create underground lakes.
Because they are filled with water instead of air, aquifers can be a good place to find ores which generate with reduced or no air exposure. More than one blob of diamonds may spawn in one aquifer.
Aquifers below Y=0 may generate filled with lava instead of water.
Found in every part of the world, underground water lakes are the most common type of lake. Water lakes may generate 1–20 blocks below the surface, are often visible from the surface and not particularly difficult to come across, and can generate all the way to bedrock level.
These are similar to water lakes, and can generate at all layers. Blocks of stone usually generate around these.
Similarly to how water oceans replace all air blocks below a certain altitude on the surface, when deep enough in a cave (levels 1-10), all blocks that would generate as air instead generate as lava.
|Java Edition pre-Classic|
|Cave game tech test||Development on "Cave Game" started; caverns are showcased.|
|Java Edition Classic|
|August 25, 2009||Caves are shown to be longer and more narrow.|
|It was demonstrated that bigger caves are located deeper underground.|
|0.24_SURVIVAL_TEST||Added the above cave changes.|
|Java Edition Indev|
|0.31||20100122||Caves are no longer filled with water as often.|
|Java Edition Infdev|
|Minecraft Infdev||20100227-1||Removed caves.|
|20100325||Caves were reimplemented.|
|20100327||Removed caves again.|
|20100616||Again reimplemented caves.|
|Caves are now clustered instead of random.|
|Caves have 1–5 exits, enabling multiple escapes.|
|Caves are now so clustered that a cave could be described as "Swiss cheese".|
|More water and lava springs generate in caves.|
|Tunnels have a wider variety of thickness.|
|20100617-2||Gravel and dirt can now be found in caves.[is this the correct version?]|
|Java Edition Alpha|
|v1.0.3||Caves now have ambient noises such as moans and train whistles.|
|v1.2.6||Pools of water and lava can now be found in caves.|
|Java Edition Beta|
|1.2||Ores can now be found more often on the walls of caves.|
|1.4.2||12w38a||Bats added, and are the only passive mob to spawn in dark caves.|
|12w38b||New cave sounds added.|
|1.7.2||13w36a||Cave generation tweaked, making caves less dense and interconnected.|
|1.8||14w02a||Caves now generate with granite, diorite, and andesite below Y:80, in a similar abundance to gravel or dirt.|
|14w20a||Caves now generate on the surface of desert, mesa, mega taiga and mushroom biomes.|
|14w32a||Caves surfacing in mesa biomes now generate with red sandstone rather than sandstone.|
|1.10||16w20a||Caves no longer generate with sandstone in the ceiling, when they surface through sand of any type. The sand instead shows unstable sand particles, until it is disturbed.|
|1.13||18w08a||Caves and ravines can now generate underwater.|
|October 3, 2020||The Caves & Cliffs update was announced at Minecraft Live 2020, revealing cave biomes, aquifers, and noise caves.|
|1.17||21w06a||Revamped cave generation by adding cheese caves, spaghetti caves, and flooded aquifer caves.|
|Removed flooded carver caves, as they are replaced by aquifers.|
|Caves can now generate down to Y=-60.|
|21w07a||Noise caves and aquifers appear less often and caves that are below the Y level of 0 will now be made with grimstone|
|21w08a||Added crack carvers.|
|Tweaked cave sizes.|
|Added more variation to carvers.|
|21w10a||Crack carvers are now much less common.|
|21w11a||Tweaked cave sizes.|
|21w13a||Made carvers less likely to be too flat to walk through.|
|Increased likelihood of huge caves (very large cheese caves).|
|Reduced likelihood of tall 1-block thin pillars.|
|Changes were made to make the cheese caves more varied in aspect and size.|
|Deepslate blobs can now be found between heights 0 and 16.|
|Dripstone clusters can now be found rarely in regular caves.|
|21w15a||All changes to caves from 21w06a - 21w13a with the exception of random deepslate and tuff blobs and dripstone clusters have been reverted and disabled.|
|Pocket Edition Alpha|
|v0.9.0||build 1||Added caves.|
|1.4.0||beta 22.214.171.124||Caves can now generate underwater.|
|1.16.0||beta 126.96.36.199||Added ambient cave sounds.|
|1.16.220||beta 188.8.131.52||Caves now generate down to Y=-64.|
|1.17.0||beta 184.108.40.206||Deepslate blobs can now be found between heights 0 and 16.|
|beta 220.127.116.11||Dripstone clusters can now be found rarely in regular caves.|
|beta 18.104.22.168||Revamped cave generation by adding cheese caves, spaghetti caves, and flooded aquifer caves.|
|Caves can now generate down to Y=-60.|
|release||The new cave generation has been made inaccessible in the full release.|
|Legacy Console Edition|
|TU1||CU1||1.0||Patch 1||1.0.1||Added caves.|
|New Nintendo 3DS Edition|
|1.3.12||Improved visibility in caves.|
Unusually repetitive cave generation seen in spectator mode.
Cave entrance in a Desert biome.
Another example of a mega cave with a mineshaft.
- Ambience, which are sounds that can be heard around and within dark caves.
- A guide to exploring caverns
- "I get a lot of questions about how the new Minecraft noise caves work, and why we call them silly things like Cheese caves and Spaghetti caves. Here's an attempt to summarize it in a picture, hope it makes some kind of sense :)" – @henrikkniberg on Twitter
- "Minecraft Snapshot 21w06a" – Minecraft.net, February 10, 2021
- "We added noise caves, changed world height, and added aquifers (local water levels). Summarized in this pic. Note that the underground biomes don't generate quite yet. Try it, give us feedback!" – @henrikkniberg on Twitter, February 10, 2021
- "It seems that the underground is no longer swiss cheese anymore." – Minecraft Forum, September 17, 2013.
- de:Datei:Höhlenverteilung 13w36a.gif
- "Oh forgot to mention in the changelog: we also added some more variation to the old cave carvers (width, heigh, floor cutoff, etc). Just to make them blend in a bit better with the noise caves instead of being instantly recognizable." – @henrikkniberg on Twitter, February 24, 2021