Around the Block: Dripstone Caves

Who are you calling a drip?

As you’re spelunking through the new cave systems in the recently-released Caves & Cliffs Part II update, you’ve got a lot of goodies waiting in store for you.

There are lush caves, where the azalea grows free, geodes stuffed with amethyst, rich veins of copper ore, and – last but not least – large caves full of dripstone stalagmites. Mojang’s naming team were on lunch, so we called them “dripstone caves”, and they’re our biome of the week.

As we noted when we wrote about dripstone, you’ll easily recognize dripstone caves from the pillars that stretch from the floor to the ceiling, as well as spikes that hang down from the roof (known as stalactites) or point up from the ground (known as stalagmites).

They’re not as rich in resources as lush caves, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to collect here. Dripstone caves’ unique geology means that they generate larger seams of copper ore than other biomes, while a cauldron positioned below a water or lava pool and a block of pointed dripstone will slowly fill with liquid.

This biome comes with dangers, though. As well as the usual array of spiders, zombies, skeletons, and creepers, you’ll also come across the drowned in this dank environment. Oh, and the environment itself can kill you – dripstone stalagmites are sharp, and landing on one will hurt.

The real-world inspiration for Minecraft’s dripstone caves is the famous Sơn Đoòng cave in Vietnam, which is one of the world’s largest natural caves. It’s more than five kilometers long, about 200 meters high, and 150 meters wide – so large that a Boeing 747 could comfortably fly through without its wings being in any danger.

Sunlight enters in some places where the ceiling has collapsed, allowing vegetation to grow – a bit like Minecraft’s lush caves. But most of it is filled with limestone stalagmites – some of the largest in the world, growing up to 70 meters tall.

Minecraft’s dripstone caves get pretty large too, and its stalagmites can get very long. If you can find a cave large enough, try building a Boeing 747 inside!

Duncan Geere
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Duncan Geere
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