I was just doing some strip mining and I heard what sounded like a giant gate being closed and some chains moving.

I thought nothing of it until I heard it a second time.

What could be making that sound?

  • 9
    If you enable captions in the accessibility menu, the game will give names to every single sound that you hear, which may help you figure out what you are listening to.
    – Kevin
    Commented Jan 20, 2021 at 19:09
  • I believe this used to indicate the presence of a dark area nearby (like an unexplored cave) but I can't find anything to confirm that now, and as of the Nether update last March I don't believe it's true anymore, judging by the patch notes.
    – Ajedi32
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 21:44
  • 1
    @Ajedi32 yeah, you can find the old criteria in this revision of the ambience wiki. "Cave ambience may occur when the player is in the vicinity of an air block with a light level lower than 9, without lighting from the sky. In addition, it can be played in the void. The air block that actually plays the sound does not have to be sealed off from the player." Ian's answer summarizes the current logic well.
    – Kroltan
    Commented Jan 22, 2021 at 15:42

3 Answers 3



What you're hearing are ambient noises, these are noises that Minecraft randomly plays sometimes. They are made to be creepy, but don't actually do anything other than sound weird. A quick search reveals this which meets your description quite perfectly, I think.


Those sounds are 'cave ambience', and hearing them means you should be careful; you're in the dark, and monsters might be able to spawn. No 'thing' in particular is making the sound; Minecraft is actually giving you a helpful warning.

Cave ambience is not random. It does not indicate that any other event has occurred, but it does provide information about your current location. Minecraft plays ambient cave sounds play when a mood value reaches 100%, and then the mood resets to 0 and begins to increase again. The rate at which the mood value increases is based on an algorithm which considers various factors including depth and darkness, according to this. I haven't reviewed the code myself, but my personal experience supports this claim.

Since branch mining is typically done deep underground, cave ambience sounds tend to play very shortly after you enter a 'dark' area. Thus, they can serve as a quick warning when you've forgotten to light up a branch mining path sufficiently.

So, I always take cave ambience sounds as a reminder to be cautious, but if I unexpectedly hear them while I'm in my own mine, I know I have a lighting problem, which I'd better fix soon if I want to avoid unwelcome guests.


It indicates a change in the time of day, like day to night and vice versa. Source? I've played a lot in Survival mode and that really freaked me out when it came out a few updates ago (I think aquatic). I believe that they added it to help when you are down in the underground to know that time has changed aboveground.

  • 1
    this is just wrong....
    – Topcode
    Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 19:25
  • 3
    This is incorrect. Internally, Minecraft stores a mood variable for the player that gradually increases depending on the current light level, altitude, and other factors. When mood reaches 100%, it plays a random "cave ambiance" (scary) sound and resets to 0 to begin counting up again. Commented Jan 21, 2021 at 20:01

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