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I've recently undertaken some surface mining in DF, and I've having more collapses (and dead dwarves) than I ever did underground.

I have a ridge like


which I designate for digging like so


Somehow I'm still getting a huge collapse which is killing my miners. Is the "layer" dropping on my dwarves?


  • x: stone of some sort
  • -: the layer
  • d: designated for digging
  • : open space
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Short answer: Yes. Soil is just as deadly as stone when it comes to cave ins.

Rather than dig the ridge out from under it, go up one z-level and tell your dwarves to channel instead. They'll clear the same area, but as channeling also removes the soil floor tiles, it won't result in any cave-ins. (Though you may need to clear some trees, biome depending)

A safer alternative is to turn the hill into Upward Ramps (with R or r, I think?) and then remove the ramps with z. A two-step process, but no cave-ins, and no falling dwarves (even 1 z-level falls occasionally cause injuries).

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I'm not sure it makes you wrong, but there was no "soil" present. By "layer" I'm referring to the floor equivalent top of the ridge. – C. Ross Sep 21 '10 at 14:45
@C.Ross I was under the impression from "surface" mining, that you were not mining stone. You're right about the "layer" falling and killing them, which may or may not have been a soil floor. (But was definitely floor of some type!) – Raven Dreamer Sep 21 '10 at 15:04
I'm strip mining, all that exposed hematite, coal, etc. – C. Ross Sep 21 '10 at 15:26
@C. Ross -- Noted! Still, gotta watch out for those ceilings! Channel down will net you those exposed minerals just the same. – Raven Dreamer Sep 21 '10 at 15:31
I favor upward ramps, if all I have to worry about is a thin ceiling. – Brilliand Jun 3 '14 at 19:56

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