Take the 2-minute tour ×
Arqade is a question and answer site for passionate videogamers on all platforms. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm trying to find caves in Minecraft as efficiently as possible. Where do caves tend to occur with the greatest frequency, and at what elevation are they the most common? Also, how far apart are they, on average?

I'm interested in knowing what tools would be useful for analyzing the distribution of caves in Minecraft, as well.

share|improve this question
1  
I can't say I've ever had trouble finding a cave within 5-10 minutes, and usually one that's so large I haven't found the end of it after 10 hours of playing... –  mellamokb Jul 5 '12 at 21:52
    
When you find a cave, it's usually a good idea to light up the cave quickly so that monsters won't spawn. As you travel through the lit areas, you'll find ores that you can mine. –  Anderson Green Jul 9 '12 at 22:23
    
@mellamokbtheWise The terrain has changed slightly - caves aren't as common now as they used to be. It's a bit more like the 1.7.3 terrain generator now. –  Anderson Green Mar 1 '13 at 3:33
    
related: mojang.atlassian.net/browse/MC-1769 –  TokenMacGuy Jul 17 '13 at 21:10

8 Answers 8

up vote 26 down vote accepted

One tip to make cave searching much easier is to carry a piston and a form of power (button, pressure plate, lever, redstone torch etc.) around with you.

If you hear any monster noises, put the piston up against a wall (or floor or ceiling) facing into the wall (in the direction you think the monsters are). Power the piston, and if it actually works, you know there's a cave on the other side of that wall.

Keep in mind that this only works if the cave is 12 blocks or less away, any more and the piston won't work causing you to think that there's probably no cave.

share|improve this answer
6  
neat trick! good thinking –  Ender Jul 5 '12 at 23:10

One thing that works for me most of the time is to get an Eye of Ender and then right click with it in your hand, follow the eye and dig down.

share|improve this answer
3  
That is for finding a Stronghold. –  ChargingPun Jul 17 '13 at 18:04
    
Perhaps the answerer means to say there are caves usually found around Strongholds? –  Coronus Jul 17 '13 at 18:11

While others give methods how to find single caves or explore to find bigger nexuses, let me answer directly, how to find BIG cave nexuses.

There are mods that let you peer through walls. This is a blatant cheat but it really lets you locate caves most easily. Another method to travel quickly, by boat or running. As new chunks are loaded, you can see through the floor before they do. That way you can spot places where a whole bunch of caves connect. It seems Minecraft uses some function of cavern density - while sometimes you find caves that run for chunks with very few branching, yesterday I encountered a couple of chunks that were literally such a mess of caverns, ravines and huge chambers, so that the remaining stone between them felt more like erratic walkways in a huge void, as there was considerably more air than stone.

As for frequency of cave appearance: look at the dashed cyan line of this graph: block frequencysource

It's the frequency of air blocks per volume. In particular, caves between level 15 and 35 are nearly ten times as common as near surface (64). Although in this case the graph might be biased: I guess if you exclude "sea" biome the distribution would be more uniform.

Nevertheless, there's a rapid drop-off below 14, so don't seek them near bedrock.

share|improve this answer

I wouldn't say caves are really hard to find. They very often occur on the ground that you are walking on. Caves mostly occur when you are in Extreme Hills biomes and they can also have a lot of minerals for you to mine. You can find a cave by hearing the monster sounds that travel 16 blocks or you can hear a very creepy sound when you are approaching a cave. Also, never ignore a patch of dirt underground. Dig it and most likely it will lead you to a large cave or ravine.

share|improve this answer
    
Welcome to the site! Your information is insightful but doesn't quite answer the question. He wants to know where caves are found and how often they generate. –  MapCavalier Mar 7 '13 at 3:29

With regard to normal (i.e. flat-ish dirt and rock) terrain, I haven't noticed any particular technique other than luck/just digging and mining.

I have found that they are easier to locate where a generated feature clashes with the cave:

  • The edges of lakes, either on the bed or where they meet the shore.

  • Steep hills 'stretch'/distort the land and expose caves.

  • Sand can form pits as it falls into caves, often where lava is present in the cave (Seems to destroy the sandstone cap.)

  • The sea bed, once you can make breathing room. I have found Jack-O-Lanterns to be useful for highlighting the the floor's features.

In terms of generalised location caves seem to occur from a few layers above bedrock to above sea level, i.e. wherever there is contiguous rock and dirt. However there seems to be a larger concentration at certain depths: which might be possible to ascertain from understanding how the terrain is generated (which I don't!).

This is largely a list of anecdotal information, but it is the most efficient way I have found without utilising blind luck.

share|improve this answer

I locate a lot of caves all the time. Try:

  • Turning your volume up so that you can hear possible monster noises indicating a cave nearby
  • Going for a scuba-diving trip in a lake/swampland biome
  • Looking for abnormalities (such as an area missing sand) in desert biomes
  • Look near bedrock
  • Make a quarry - you are guaranteed to find a cave using this method
  • MINE!!!
share|improve this answer

It depends on your purpose. If your purpose is to just find a cave, any old cave, wander around on the surface and you'll generally find one quite quickly. Most caves lead to huge underground regions which as another poster mentioned can take days (human days) to fully explore.

If your purpose is to illuminate all caves to force monsters to spawn in a trap (for instance) then creating a tunnel system that passes with 32 of every block on the interior of your system (and 16 on the exterior) will guarantee you that if mobs are spawning inside your system, you'll at least be able to hear them from one of your tunnels (mob noises travel 16 squares). Moreover, as most caves are large or have large extents, you'll very likely intersect any significant caves in that region.

As for identifying the cave distribution, all I can suggest is using "standard" minecraft map exploration tools, of which I know nothing about.

share|improve this answer

I have no statistics, but, while digging, you can often hear faint monster noises deep underground. If you dig toward them, you should come out in a cave or dungeon.

I've also noticed that you can frequently find large caves that end up as ravines on the surface, and you can also find caves underneath ocean biomes.

share|improve this answer
    
This is true, but I'm taking a more systematic and methodical approach to searching for caves. –  Anderson Green Jul 5 '12 at 22:36

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.