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Do deserts have ravines, that are open to the surface? I have seen some surface ravines directly at the border of deserts, but never in the middle of a desert.

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Given that sand tends to get stuck until stepped upon, there's a reasonable explanation if there really are none: You'd randomly drop tens of blocks because the sand didn't fall down before. –  user98085 Jul 23 '13 at 22:53
    
It falls when you step on it? I thought it needed a block update to fall. –  Heiko Jul 23 '13 at 23:58
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You're right, sand doesn't fall when you step on it; it needs a block update. –  SevenSidedDie Jul 24 '13 at 0:48
    
@SevenSidedDie That might be as well. Haven't played in a while. Just remembered something about sand not dropping. –  user98085 Jul 24 '13 at 1:03
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I have fallen into a ravine in the desert multiple times when exploring. It was a single block wide hole that somehow was open to the abyss... I have also found ravines that have sandstone roofs. –  John Jul 25 '13 at 2:56

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

In world generation logic, desert sand placement comes after digging out ravines. Since deserts come with a solid layer of sandstone underneath them, you will never find an above-ground ravine in a desert.

I'd imagine that this was intentional; realistically you wouldn't ever find above-ground ravines in deserts because they'd simply fill up with sand.

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Then why do you sometimes find caves near the surface where the sand has collapsed into the cave? Also same with dungeons. –  mellamokb Jul 25 '13 at 18:57
    
Ravines ≠ cave systems - they are entirely separate entities and logic in world generation code. Also, Dungeons are one of the last things to be generated in a world. –  Gigazelle Jul 25 '13 at 20:39

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