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What's a good way to find magma in Dwarf Fortress v0.31.08 (or thereabouts)? (Preferably without cheating.) I know if I dig straight down I'll eventually find some, but I usually wind up breaking into an underground cave with unfriendly creatures and I'd like to avoid that. Also, I'd like it to be a little closer to the surface so I don't have to build some kind of insanely large pump stack to move the magma up to a useful level.

Should magma like this be available on most maps or is it highly dependent on embark location? Should I look 20 levels down and dig a grid? 40 levels?

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Curious, why is magma desirable? – McKay Aug 12 '10 at 20:49
Several reasons: forges and smelters built over magma don't require fuel (except in a couple cases where it's part of the recipe), magma can be used to produce obsidian, and because magma is especially good at hastening your enemies to a fiery, fiery death. – JavadocMD Aug 12 '10 at 21:35
Because dwarves like to get drunk and then play with a lever linked to a magma floodgate. – dierre Sep 1 '10 at 13:18
In Soviet Dwarf Fortress, the magma finds you! – DJClayworth May 26 '11 at 16:21
See also: Fun – chandsie Jul 15 '11 at 13:01
up vote 8 down vote accepted

Look for a volcano on the embark map - in ASCII mode it's represented by red caret character.

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Magma is always available deep, but it can also be found near the surface on some maps. Unfortunately you cannot use the site finder to find magma features in the current version.

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time localized answer. – antony.trupe May 17 '11 at 4:09
Magma is always available deep can i get the figure about which z-level? – Fennekin Sep 26 '15 at 15:46

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