An explosion is a physical event, generally destructive, that can be caused by several different circumstances. It can destroy nearby blocks, propel and damage nearby players, entities, and their armor, and cause one or more fires under correct circumstances. Explosions produce a "shockwave" particle effect.
Multiple close explosions may propel objects further, but have no cumulative effect on the destruction of a block. This is because explosions' damage to blocks is evaluated individually (per explosion), and blocks' blast resistance does not become "weakened" per explosion.
"Destroyed" blocks have a chance of dropping as collectible resources (and otherwise disappear), and this chance is 1⁄p, where p is the explosion power. So, a creeper blast (uncharged) has a 1⁄3 chance of dropping a block. The exception is TNT explosion, which has a 100% drop chance.[Java Edition only]
The propulsion effect of explosions is often used for TNT cannons, and can also be used to shoot out gravity affected blocks.
|Wither [Bedrock and Legacy Console editions only] (half health charge move)||8||Breaks any block that is breakable in survival mode, ignoring blast resistance.|
|Wither (when spawned, or when killed[Legacy Console and Bedrock editions only])||7|
|End crystal (when destroyed)||6||All other crystals nearby also explode at the same time.|
|Charged creeper||6||Drops heads or skulls of mobs killed by explosion.|
|Beds when used in the Nether or the End||5||Starts fires.|
|TNT||4||Any blocks destroyed by explosion drop their respective items.|
|Underwater TNT[Bedrock and Education editions only]||4||Damages terrain, even when underwater.|
|Ghast fireball||1||Starts fires.|
|Black wither skull||1|
|Dangerous wither skull||1||Treats blocks within blast radius (except bedrock, end portal, end gateway, end portal frame, command block, structure block, structure void and barrier) as having a blast resistance of less than 4.|
Model of block destruction
An explosion can destroy nearby blocks. Its blast effect is evaluated independently on many explosion rays originating from the explosion center, as shown in the right figure.
- A cube around the explosion is divided into a 16×16×16 grid, and rays are created from the center to each outer point of this grid, meaning that there are a total of 1352 rays.
- Each ray is given an intensity, calculated as (0.7 + [a random value from 0 to 0.6]) × [power].
- For every 0.3 blocks along the ray, the intensity of the ray decays/is attenuated by 0.3×0.75 (0.225), and the block it passes through absorbs/reduces it by ([blast resistance/5]+0.3)×0.3.
- The ray destroys all blocks that could not end the ray at any checkpoint.
From the above process, the following results can be deduced (where ⌊x⌋ is the floor function):
- The blast radius in the air of an explosion (i.e. attenuated but not absorbed by blocks) = == 10.2 (charged creepers), 6.9 (TNT), 5.1 (creepers), 1.5 (fireballs). For example, a TNT explosion can destroy a torch 7 blocks away. However, how many blocks an explosion can destroy is non-deterministic and also dependent on the specific location of the explosion.
- The minimum block resistance required to absorb maximum blast force of an explosion happening in nearby air = ((1.3 × power − attenuation steps × step length × 0.75)/step length − 0.3) × 5. To not be destroyed, a block has to absorb all blast force at the first checkpoint in it.
- The attenuation steps is subject to collision restrictions. For explosion in air, there is at least one attenuation step. TNT and creeper explosions are always 0.49 and 0.5 meter away from nearest block (2 att. steps), but fireball explosions can happen anywhere (1 att. step).
- Thus, the block resistances are 121.00 (charged creepers), 77.67 (TNT), 56.00 (creepers), 16.42 (fireballs).
- So water, lava (the stationary block), obsidian, and bedrock are always indestructible, and fences and less blast-resistant blocks can be destroyed by fireballs. These are theoretical values, and in reality less resistant blocks are not always destroyed; there is no such mechanic.
Interaction with entities
An explosion has different effects on entities than blocks. Entities are damaged and propelled by an explosion if within its damage radius of 2 × power. Note that the "damage radius" is different from the blast radius of explosion effect on blocks.
- For every entity within a 2×[power] block sphere of the explosion center, the impact is (1-[distance from explosion/damage radius])×[exposure] (see section below on exposure).
- The entity is damaged by ((impact×impact+impact)×7×power+1) rounded down (armor enchantments for damage are handled separately).
- After damage, exposure is reduced by (exposure×[max Blast Protection from all armor]×0.15).
- The entity's eyes are propelled along the ray from the explosion center by the new exposure.
From the above process, the following results can be deduced:
- Entities always get at least 1 point of damage if they are within the radius, regardless of their explosion exposure.
- The maximum damage that entities can take (at the explosion center with 100% exposure) = (1 × 1 + 1) × 7 × power + 1 point of damage = 85 (charged creepers), 57 (TNT), 43 (creepers), 15 (fireballs). When entities are away or covered by blocks from the explosion center, they take less damage.
- The maximum velocity gain that an entity can obtain from a TNT explosion is 1, at the explosion center with 100% exposure.
Calculation of explosion exposure
- The entity's bounding box is divided into a [2×width+1] by [2×height+1] by [2×depth+1] grid of unequally spaced points.
- A ray is drawn from the explosion center to each point.
- The exposure of the entity is the percentage of these rays that are unobstructed.
The approximation algorithm has sampling error that results in directional asymmetry of propulsion. For example, a typical TNT cannon has maximum range in the west direction partly because the primed TNT has largest sampled exposure in that direction.
In addition to the initial lag from processing the explosion, which subsides once the explosion has occurred, there can also be a prolonged fallout from an explosion, that consists of dropped items, liquid physics, and increased render-complexity of the crater. Technically, the dropped items disappear after 5 minutes, however those 5 in-game minutes may take a long time to process during extreme lag.
Using certain rules and commands can avoid this prolonged lag: setting the gamerule
doTileDrops to false, for instance with
/gamerule doTileDrops false, prevent dropped items from being generated by explosions. Also, the command
/kill @e[type=Item] destroys all dropped items.
|Block name||Blast resistance|
|Weighted Pressure Plates||2.5|
|Stained Glass Panes||1.5|
|Sweet Berry Bush||0|
Typical damage radius
|May 21, 2009||Notch shows interest in adding an explosive block.|
|Java Edition Classic|
|October 24, 2009||Showed off TNT.|
|Java Edition Indev|
|0.31 (January 22, 2010)||Explosions are now "better".|
|0.31 (January 25, 2010, 1)||Explosions now lose power when going through stronger materials.|
|Java Edition Alpha|
|v1.2.0||preview||Added ghasts, which shoot explosive ghast fireballs.|
|Java Edition Beta|
|1.5||Creepers now become charged when struck by lightning, increasing the explosion's radius and strength.|
|1.6||?||When the player tries to sleep in the Nether, they now cause the bed to explode.|
|1.8||?||Explosions now emit shockwave particles. Prior to Beta 1.8, explosions emitted only smoke.|
|Sound Update||The 'Sound Update' on November 11th, 2011 gave TNT a new explosion sound.|
|1.0.0||Beta 1.9 Prerelease 3||Bed and ghast fireballs explosions now cause fires.|
|Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4||When the player tries to sleep in the End, they now cause the bed to explode.|
|Enchantment Blast Protection added, which can enhance an armor's resistance against explosions.|
|Beta 1.9 Prerelease 6||End crystal added, an entity, which sits atop of a block of bedrock. It can be destroyed with a melee or hit with an arrow or snowball, causing an explosion.|
|1.3.1||12w24a||Fixed the issue of explosions not propelling players.|
|?||Explosions now damage the player different amounts on different difficulties. However, no damage is dealt to the player on Peaceful.|
|1.4.2||12w34a||Added the wither, which shoots black wither skulls.|
|12w37a||An emergent wither now make a massive explosion when its health is fully charged.|
|Blue wither skulls added.|
|12w38b||New creeper fall mechanics have been added. Creepers now explode if they fall on the player from a certain height.|
|1.5||?||Destroyed blocks now have a 1/power chance of dropping as items; previously it was a fixed 30% chance.|
|1.8.2||pre1||Explosions are now no longer directionally biased.|
|1.14||19w11a||Destroyed blocks from TNT or minecart with TNT explosions now have a 100% chance of dropping as items.|
|Pocket Edition Alpha|
|0.2.1||TNT now actually explodes.|
|0.12.1||?||Creepers now become charged when struck by lightning, increasing the explosion's radius and strength.|
|Added ghasts, which shoot explosive ghast fireballs.|
|Enchantment Blast Protection added, which can enhance an armor's resistance against explosions.|
|When the player tries to sleep in the Nether, they cause the bed to explode.|
|?||Added explosion particles.|
|gave TNT a new explosion sound.|
|0.14.0||?||An invalid mixture of liquids in cauldrons now result in a non-damaging explosion effect.|
|0.16.0||build 4||Wither added.|
|1.0.0||alpha 0.17.0.1||End crystal added.|
|When the player tries to sleep in the End, they now cause the bed to explode.|
|1.0.7||Explosions no longer deal damage to a player, if the explosion is in water.|
|1.4.0||beta 22.214.171.124||Creating garbage in Lab Table sometimes cause explosion sound.|
|Added Underwater TNT, which can damage terrain underwater.|
- Explosions with a power greater than 100 look mostly the same from the outside, as only certain lines are used to determine if a block breaks. However, some of those lines continue underground.
- An explosion powerful enough to break bedrock would have a blast radius of over 30,000,000 blocks. If it were an uninterrupted blast, it would cover 238,775,501.2 blocks. However, explosions follow certain lines, not every block (see previous). However, this would not drop the bedrock.
- Explosions going off in flowing water or lava apply propulsion to entities, but don't affect any blocks, regardless of the blocks' blast resistance.
- Underwater explosions don't emit smoke particles.
- Explosions can redirect projectiles, including ender pearls.
- Explosions can break blocks on the other side of surviving blast-resistant blocks.
- Explosions propel dead mobs' bodies, if they go off just after the mob dies.
- If primed TNT explodes in a large, solid cube of stone blocks, it creates an exact 3×3×3 cube inside. Experimentation confirms that a TNT detonation causes a 3×3 hole in a solid block of anything with a blast resistance less than that of water, but more than 12.5 (e.g. crafting tables). This implies that 3×3 is the minimum possible result of a TNT detonation without the blast being resisted altogether.
- If a Falling Sand entity falls into Primed TNT when in water, it deals block damage.
- Every block that has a higher blast resistance than cobwebs can block a ghast's fireball and remain intact.