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Is there any way to know where one should try digging to find a particular type of stone?

For example, I would sorely like some coal, but I'm just digging around more or less at random at the moment. Is there a smarter way to find coal seams and other similar things?

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If you need fuel, you can also cut down trees and process the logs into charcoal. There's no relevant differences between coke from coal and charcoal from wood. –  Daenyth Jun 9 '12 at 1:59
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3 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

The wiki has a great guide to exploratory mining.

Otherwise, the map is generated at random, so the only way is to try.

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Expanding on Arda's answer a little bit. It depends on what material you are looking for. Different materials appear in different forms. Assuming your are running 0.31.x coal will appear mostly in the form of veins, with large ovals of it every now and then. Your best shot is going to be looking laterally across a single Z level. Veins can be between 50-100 squares wide. so I'd advise digging single wide paths every 30 squares or so.

More or less it is random searching. But you can rule certain things out. stuff like coal will never be above an aquifer. it will never be found in sand of any kind, or most soils. you only should look in rocks. that might help narrow your search a little.

Good luck! Have Dwarven fun! xD

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It also depends on what layers are on your map. –  Raven Dreamer Dec 9 '10 at 0:07
    
I vaguely remember someone explaining the relationship between materials and layers... –  tzenes Dec 9 '10 at 0:54
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Or you could cheat and use Reveal. Spoils the fun, obviously.

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