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Caverns are hollow, generated structures in Minecraft worlds beneath or above, or at, sea level (where Y=64). They are very commonly found as cavities in the ground, which vary in size. Larger caverns, which are often found under mountains, will most likely feature tunnels that branch off, known as Catacombs. Caverns form at surface level, down to the Bedrock Layer. Caverns also spawn with up to 2 Dungeons connected to them.
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Depending on their elevation, Caverns can contain any type of Ore Vein. However, ore is mostly found in the larger caverns. Hostile mobs often spawn in Caverns, oftentimes making them a dangerous place to explore if unprepared.

Cavern Types

Small Caverns

Small Caverns are caves usually found close to the surface. Due to their proximity to the surface, only Coal Ore and Iron Ore can be commonly found in them, while other Ore is found quite rarely.

Medium Caverns

Medium Caverns are usually about twice the size of small caves. They form deeper underground, and they usually contain more ore than their smaller counterparts.

Large Caverns

Large Caverns are more rare, and are found deep underground. They contain all types of Ore. They usually contain large, circular rooms, or long, wide, tunnel-like ravines. They may also intersect Abandoned Mine Shafts or other caves. They can be spread in-between multiple Biomes and contain multiple entrances.

Open-top Cavern


Here is an Open Cavern under a jungle biome, with many vines hanging downward into it.

Open-top Caverns, or above ground ravines are thin and tall caves, with the distinguishing feature being an opening to the Overworld at the top, basically making them ravines with caves underneath.


Tunnels are Caverns that connect two or more entrances. They seldom contain Ore, and are many times shorter and smaller than Small Caverns. Usually on the x, z axis in the game, Tunnels are diagonally positioned.

Exploration Tips

  • Larger caverns usually have an abundance of ore. Remember to bring the materials to build multiple pickaxes or bring more than two.
  • If you mined out all the ore in a catacomb, try to "cut" it off using a transparent block (such as Fences). If ambience is still heard or Mobs spawn, you may have missed a section.
  • Carry extra torches with you, greater than one stack. You never know how big a Cavern is.
  • Wear at least Iron armor, even on peaceful, due to the dangers of lava. Feather-falling enchantments will also help.
  • Bring at least one bucket of water. This can make retrieving Ore (such as Diamond ) over Lava much easier, and will make cavern exploration safer, in general.
  • You can get lost rather easily in Caverns. Leaving markers, such as torches, is a good way to prevent this.
  • "Refining" the shape of the caves you encounter can help prevent you from getting lost, as they will look less random.
  • Keep your inventory for Cavern travel as minimal as possible. It will allow you to mine more resources with fewer drop-off trips.
  • Hostile Mobs are numerous in Caverns, so always have a Sword ready.
  • To an extent, you can use Creepers in caves to help find more Ore, as their explosion may reveal a hidden pocket.
  • Wood is hard to come by in Caverns (unless you find an Abandoned Mineshaft). Make sure to pack plenty of it before exploring.
  • Bring milk, in case you stumble across an Abandoned Mineshaft. There are almost always Cave Spiders lurking inside.
  • Bring a lot of food! Starving to death in a Cavern and losing all your minerals isn't the best way to go.
  • If you are mining Obsidian, make sure there isn't Lava under it.
  • Bring or use cheap blocks to make bridges across lava pools, gaps, or ravines.


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An Abandoned Mine Shaft cutting through a large cavern. Note the Minecart with Chest on bottom right corner.

  • Caves are generated after Ore. As a result, the ore pockets found in Caves may not be as big as the ones found while strip-mining.
  • On rare occasions, a Cavern may have two different entrances in two different biomes.
  • Jungle Caverns have Vines growing in them.
  • In the Minecraft Classic version, it's almost impossible to dig straight down without finding a cavern.
  • An exciting way to find these caves in MC Classic is to find a body of water, and look for holes in a cliff etc. Explore in these, and it is almost positive that you are either inside an underwater cavern, or you might swim through a tunnel and surface in some sort of cavern.
  • Another tip for not getting lost in caves is to always place torches on the left (or right) wall, that way finding your way out is as simple as making sure the torches are on the opposite side that you placed them on.
  • It is possible, but extremely rare for a large cave to appear at the surface of the map, leaving a giant crater in the ground.
  • If a player is very desperate for food due to a low Hunger Bar and an absence of animals, a cave can be useful. Zombies spawn in caves, and their dropped Rotten Flesh can be used to fill the Hunger Bar. However, this is advised against because a low Hunger Bar means no Health regeneration, and a hungry player can be quickly overcome by a zombie horde. Also, Rotten Flesh has an 80% chance of causing the Hunger status effect, which aggravates the problem of Hunger instead of solving it.

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