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Solid Block









Blast resistance



This block can be broken with any tool, but a shovel is the quickest




Yes (64)





First appearance

Classic 0.0.14a


Itself (90% chance)
(10% chance)

Data value

dec: 13 hex: D bin: 1101



Gravel is a type of block typically found in naturally occurring pits, underwater, on beaches (more commonly in older versions of the game), NPC Villages as pathways, or in The Nether. It is generated at a rate of approximately 3.29% that of stone between layers 1 and 111.

Like Sand, Gravel is affected by gravity and will fall to the nearest solid block below it. Therefore it is possible to suffocate with careless use of gravel by being surrounded by it. If the lowest block in a column of Gravel is occupied by a partial block, such as a Torch, the Gravel block will drop and turn into a resource entity when it hits the partial block.

Gravel has a 10% chance of dropping flint once destroyed. Flint is used to create Flint and Steel and Arrows. Gravel blocks that don't drop flint can be picked up, placed, and destroyed again. However, if a gravel block drops flint, it does not additionally drop a gravel block, preventing the creation of an infinite amount of flint. Flint can be obtained from gravel with any tool. Flint can also be obtained by using TNT on gravel. Use of the fortune enchantment will improve the chances of flint.


[edit] Usage

Gravel's abundance and gravity-obeying property makes it useful for a variety of tasks, especially considering the other gravity-aware block, Sand, is more useful for creating Glass, TNT, and Sandstone. For exploration, it can be used to quickly build pillars to reach heights that are easy to dismantle after. They can also be used to quickly fill in water or lava lakes by dropping them on the edges or against overhead blocks, so that they fall and occupy the fluids. Filling caves in with gravel is a quick way to prevent mobs from spawning, although much gravel is needed for the task. Mobs can be suffocated with gravel as well.

Gravel can also be used to make airlocks (sand-switches). Gravel is a bit less noticeable underground as a sand switch than sand.

Gravel or sand can be used to help with obsidian mining, though it is somewhat time consuming. Locate a natural lava lake, and start to fill it in with gravel as if to get rid of it, being careful to count the amount of blocks you place. When the gravel reaches the top, start filling in parts of the lake as normal, stopping one block below the surface. Then create a water spring to form the lava into obsidian. You will be able to mine the obsidian safely now that the gravel is under it. This method is somewhat time consuming, and also can be a little hit and miss while placing the gravel, as the bottom of the lake might not be completely flat.

While not used directly in crafting, gravel is important as the only source of flint, which is needed to craft arrows.

As a decoration block, gravel is not commonly used. Due to its dull colour and the effect gravity has, it has few advantages. However, many use it in railways, for the base that rails are placed on. (This is in imitation of real-world railways, which often have gravel "beds" beneath the rails.)

[edit] Power-mining

Falling Gravel
First appearance

Classic 0.0.14a

Network ID


Savegame ID


Like Sand, Gravel will fall to the lowest y-coordinate below it if there is no solid block underneath it. Therefore it is possible to suffocate with careless use of gravel by being surrounded by it. If the lowest block in a column of Gravel is occupied by a partial block, such as a Torch, the Gravel block will drop and turn into a resource entity when it hits the partial block. A great way to power-mine massive columns of gravel is to dig under the stone or dirt that it is resting on and place a torch, a redstone torch, a piece of redstone wire, a pressure plate, a section of rails, a sign, a slab or a trapdoor. Mine the dirt or stone and the column falls into the placed object, quickly producing dropped resources. Note that this only produces gravel items; gravel is recommended to be mined by hand to produce flint. This approach can also be used to mine Sand. Gravel can also be harvested at a great speed when using an iron or better shovel on a stack with more than 2 blocks on it. The reason it is so fast is because the gravel is mined faster than it drops, allowing it to be harvested as fast as if there were a torch under it, but still having the chance to make flint while mining. This is useful when reusing gravel in an attempt to get flint. The best position to do this is with your cross-hairs pointing at the upper portion of the bottom-most block in a stack.

[edit] Descending caverns and ravines

Gravel can be used to descend a cavern or ravine as well as just creating a staircase so that if you dug in through the ceiling, you can get back out. If you place gravel over one tile until the column reaches the top, and then dig down through the column, you can quickly descend pits, and ravines. Once you reach the bottom, though, you should mark the bottom with something such as four torches surrounding it so that you can use the gravel to leave. To do that, just place gravel below you while jumping up. This is especially useful when entering a stronghold because you can destroy the silverfish spawner without the silverfish attacking you and pushing you away.

[edit] Video

[edit] History

0.0.14a Gravel0.0.14a.PNG Gravel is introduced. Like sand, gravel "falls" when placed in mid-air by moving directly above the nearest block below it in the same column, instead of turning into falling block entity.
0.0.15a The gravel texture was changed: Gravel-Pre Beta 1.9pre5.png
An old glitch in Classic mode allowed players to raise the height of a fluid block by placing Gravel (or Sand) over it. The Gravel would stay suspended in mid-air until it was broken. When broken, a fluid block corresponding to the type below the Gravel would appear where the block was. The suspended fluid block would remain immobile until a block was placed next to it, causing a flood. This bug has since been fixed, but has been reported that it has happened before. Gravel, for a time was craftable by breaking down cobblestone, but was then patched and forgotten during 0.5.
April 13, 2010 Sand and gravel re-added.
June 17, 2010 Added natural gravel and dirt under ground for more varied caves.
June 18, 2010 Gravel and sand now fall realistically.
1.0.5 Sand and gravel will float above snow covered tiles if placed above them, an unintended behavior.
1.2 Falling gravel and sand behave better in SMP.
1.7.3 A bug was introduced allowing gravel and sand to be duplicated.
Official release
1.0.0 1.9pre5 Gravel's texture is changed to Gravel-Pre 12w21a.png.
1.2.5 The duplication bug introduced in 1.7.3 was fixed.
1.3.1 12w21a Gravel's texture is changed to Gravel.png, which had been previously teased in the background of a screenshot released by Jeb on 21 May 2012, a preview of his experimentation on the trading system.
1.4.2 12w38a Gravel now has new sounds when being placed and walked on.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.1.0 Added gravel
0.6.0 Gravel is now affected by gravity
0.8.0 Gravel texture changed to Gravel.png
Console Edition
TU1 Added gravel.
Pi Edition
0.1.1 Added gravel.

[edit] Issues

Issues relating to "Gravel" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

[edit] Trivia

  • In the Nether, it is possible to find massive cliffs made of naturally-floating gravel. Just like with Sand, if you destroy, replace, remove, place a block next to, or if a Ghast's fireball hits any of these blocks, all of the adjacent floating blocks will collapse.
  • Before Beta 1.8 terrain generation, on gravel beaches, there is usually a two-high block wall upland from the beach.
  • Gravel beaches on maps are drawn with the same color as sand beaches.
  • It takes, on average, 12 wooden shovels to convert a stack of gravel into flint.
  • If gravel falls into lava, it will burn as if it was an item, although it will not disappear.
  • If gravel falls into a cobweb, it will be slowed down and then converted to an item.
  • Gravel, Obsidian, Bedrock, Lava, (and as of Title Update 9 on the Xbox 360 edition iron bars) are the only blocks that naturally spawn in multiple dimensions.
  • If a player is standing on a stack of sand or gravel, and the stack falls on a non-solid block, the player will fall fast enough to take damage or even die.
  • Often, gravel will fall into caves making a mock dead end. Thus, if a player encounters a gravel dead-end while mining, removing the gravel may reveal additional passageways.
  • Sometimes, over-hanging lands in extreme hills biomes will be formed with gravel as a bottom layer, and this normally falls to the ground below, leaving gravel patches on the ground.
  • In the Nether, gravel will mostly be found naturally at layer 63, 64 and 65.
  • If you blast gravel with TNT while it is falling, then instead of being destroyed it will be forced away, like a mob or player.
  • If you light gravel on fire, it no longer obeys the laws of physics. The same applies to sand.
  • Falling gravel, like other entities, will fall faster than the player.
  • On a map, gravel looks yellow, making it easy to mistake gravel for sand, although in the Nether, it is known that it is gravel, not sand.
  • Like sand, gravel is affected by gravity in Pocket Edition.
  • In real life, a pickaxe is often a better choice than a shovel for digging through compacted gravel or metal.
  • A gravel block that drops because it hit a torch will NOT drop flint.
  • Because of the ability to reset the Nether in the Xbox 360 edition, gravel is renewable in it.

[edit] Gallery

[edit] References