Block of the Week: Dripstone
You stalagmite want to find some!
While exploring the underground biomes of the Caves & Cliffs update, you’ll come across all kinds of rare and exciting things. From amethyst geodes to copper ore, there’s a wealth of valuable new resources just waiting to be shovelled into your burgeoning inventory.
Today, though, we’re featuring a rock with the very special ability to shape the environment around it, creating new rock below. It’s called “Dripstone”, and it’s officially our Block of the Week.
Dripstone, as the name suggests, is primarily found in the dripstone caves biome. You’ll recognise it from its rough texture and characteristic shape – forming pillars that stretch from the floor to the ceiling of the cave, as well as spikes that hang down from the roof (known as stalactites) or point up from the ground (known as stalagmites).
Dripstone comes in two forms – dripstone blocks and pointed dripstone. The blocks serve as the base for the pointed variant to extend from, and they can be easily converted. Four pointed dripstone in a crafting grid will make a dripstone block, and if a dripstone block has a water source block above it, it will very slowly grow pointed dripstone beneath.
Be careful, because pointed dripstone can be sharp. If one falls on you from above, it hurts. If you fall onto one, it also hurts. For this reason, you’ll want to be extra careful when exploring dripstone caves. But pointed dripstone can also be useful for gathering liquids – there’s a small chance to fill a cauldron when one is positioned below a stalactite.
Dripstone, in the real world, is called limestone – and it also forms pointy stalactites and stalagmites. In fact, the dripstone caves biome was directly inspired by a real-world location – as noted by Minecraft developer Henrik Kniberg:
"One of the sources of inspiration for the new Minecraft caves & the large dripstone was Hang Son Doong caves in Vietnam. Mind blowing place with 80-meter stalagmites and other craziness!"- Henrik Kniberg
These structures form when limestone dissolves a little in water. As that water flows through cracks in the rock, it leaves behind traces of what’s dissolved in it – slowly building up on the ceiling and the floor. Eventually, a stalactite and stalagmite will grow together into a single column.
You can go to a cave and wait for that to happen if you want. But I don’t recommend it, because it takes tens of thousands of years. Probably better to go play Minecraft instead.