Next on my list of Minecraft todo's is building a slime farm. I looked up the spawning locations online and chose my location.

I dug out the spawning plateau (16x32x5 blocks) and dug out an extra surrounding 3x3 blocks for tunneling. All went well; 2-3 diamond pickaxes did the trick. After that I lit up the place with glowstone so no angry mobs would spawn.

I think it will be a successful project, because slimes spawn in constantly already.

I've started to work on the collection area. Basically, I want to build a large room there that looks out over the spawning plateaus. The problem I have is that the exact area I want to work with is filled with lava pools.

When I visited that place earlier I poured water over the lava, which turns it into obsidian. That was stupid; now it takes me ages to harvest, and I can not blast it away.

Now I use the gravel method: just filling the lava block-by-block. When I am out of gravel, I dig up the back parts and go on. This really takes a while though.

I wonder if there are any better ways to clear a large-lava filled chunk.

  • 6
    Have you considered just building a layer over the lava pool? My gf did that with glass and it looks spiffy.
    – Amy B
    Jun 5, 2012 at 16:58
  • lol, pro-tip. Sounds pretty nice and some places I may it. Other places the lava just needs to be removed tho, no other choice. Jun 5, 2012 at 22:35
  • For clearing the obsidian you've already created, a diamond pick with efficiency 4 or 5 drastically increases the speed you can mine it.
    – Fambida
    Jul 12, 2012 at 10:18
  • 14
    Personal advice: If you spent one hour clearing out a lava pool with a bucket of water and a diamond pickaxe and you end up with over 54 pieces of obsidian, WHATEVER MYSTICAL BEING YOU BELIEVE IN, CARRY IT TO SAFETY! ... Don't wander off to "just dig a little bit around while down there"... ... ...believe me... ...just believe me...
    – Bobby
    Jul 12, 2012 at 18:35

5 Answers 5


Unfortunately if you want to remove the lava completely and then be where that pool is gravel/sand really is the best way to go about clearing that out.

The only alternate that I can think of would be to bucket every block of lava out and then put it into a single block area. This would then just require a single piece of gravel to get rid of. If you are good at bucketing then this might be a bit faster and save you on some shovels.

  • Gravel is definately the best solution because you only need enough gravel to cover the top most layer, as it drops it destroys source blocks and they have no way of duplicating, once completed all the lava will dissapear
    – Flaunting
    Aug 14, 2014 at 10:18
  • I thought that mechanic changed and they only destroyed the source block they landed on? I shall have to investigate!
    – James
    Aug 14, 2014 at 18:06

In my experience dropping gravel in from above is the best method, however if you want an alternative you could try convering the laval into cobblestone using water and then mining out the cobblestone.

As with the gravel method you first need to dig so that you are above the lava, and then Place a water source somewhere above the lava so that it will flow over the lava creating a floor of cobblestone. Then carefully mine away the cobblestone (most of it will drop into the lava below) and start again on the next layer.

Honestly though, using gravel is probably easier.

  • 1
    It will only make it turn to obsidian. Don't do that. May 23, 2016 at 12:51

Moving the lake 10 to the side is actually a faster and easier way of managing your lava, When you find a large Pool, don't want to use it just yet, but need it removed, Putting it into a nearby 2d pool is very handy, gets it out of your way, and yo know the dimensions of your self made pool. Unfortunately, you can't just place lava beside lava, you need a wall to click on, so make a long run, 20 by 2, into a wall where you wont step on it, so you can click on the back wall for the first row, and click on the floor of the "ditch" for the second row. I've made many long passages lit by this kind of floor light:

Vertical Cross-section of hallway:

X=any none burnable block,
A=air (the hallway I use usually are 3 tall and 2 wide)

XXXXXXX Because the connection is only one high you wont 
XAAXXXX accidentally slip into it if your running down 
XAAXXXX the passage. You could do this to both sides of 
XAAXXXX your hallway, but if I'm just using it to store 
XAAAXXX lava I need moved, I haven't needed to make anything 
XXXZZXX larger than 32x2 during excavation.

Build a layer of dirt through the uppermost lava layer, which is therefore replaced by dirt. Remove the dirt and go on with the next, now uppermost lava layer. If you crouch, most removed dirt (and you) won't fall into the lava.

  • This seems like it would be even slower than gravel. Feb 3, 2013 at 14:13
  • @mikeTheLiar True, but as mentioned, by crouching you may be able to get along with less material, especially if you only partially cover the pool before removing the dirt again. But yes, gravel/sand is probably easier...
    – Zommuter
    Feb 5, 2013 at 5:59
  • Eh. You can also re-use the gravel. You're just filling from the side instead from the top. Feb 5, 2013 at 14:26
  • @mikeTheLiar From the side has the risk of self-flooding though... But ultimately I agree with the accepted answer and just wanted to provide an alternative
    – Zommuter
    Feb 5, 2013 at 16:06

Bucketing the lava out, althought probable, is almost more time consuming than using gravel, and is very dangerous. I would suggest just using water. The resulting obsidian is very valuable and althought it takes awhile to mine (12 seconds with a diamond pick) it is well worth the effort, as it can be used to create bomb shelters when blasting with TNT, creeper proof rooms/buildings, and portals into the ever fun and fantastic Nether.

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