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Is the presence of dirt and gravel underground supposed to be a an indication of something being in the area (eg. minerals or ores) or is it just placed there when the world is generated just for the hell of it?

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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Dirt and Gravel are found underground, along with stone, water, lava, and occasionally obsidian. All of these are 'natural', with no significance. (You can also sometimes find sand)

Moss Stone indicates Dungeons, and if you find Wood/Rails, that's usually an indication you've wandered into an abandoned mine-- but gravel and dirt alone are inconsequential. They're just there for variety.

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But many people have found that if u dig out the dirt or gravel u may just find some ores hidden behind them. –  Shangz Sep 24 '11 at 2:59
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@Shangz - that's a form of memory bias; which is to say, they remember the times they dug beyond dirt/gravel and found ores more clearly than they remember the many more times they dug beyond dirt/gravel and found nothing. –  Raven Dreamer Sep 24 '11 at 3:20
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@Raven Is it really memory bias if you actually do find ore more often when digging through dirt? (not more often in the sense that there's more ore there, but more often because digging through dirt/gravel is faster than digging through rock) –  Fambida Sep 24 '11 at 7:07
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@Fambida - You'd still be associating a cause (finding dirt) with an unrelated effect (discovering ore) in exception to the actual reason (more blocks mined / minute) –  Raven Dreamer Sep 24 '11 at 7:44
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