Caves & Cliffs

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This page documents an update currently being worked on; therefore, not all official feature names or items are mentioned.
Caves & Cliffs logo
The official logo for Caves & Cliffs.

Caves & Cliffs is an upcoming major themed update set to release in mid-2021[1] as Java Edition 1.17 and Bedrock Edition 1.17.0.[2] It was announced in Minecraft Live 2020.[3] and it includes new caves and mountains features.

This update's development on Java Edition started with snapshot 20w45a, which was released on November 4, 2020.

This update's development on Bedrock Edition started with beta, which was released on October 28, 2020, although most of the features are locked behind experiments toggle until 1.17.

Notable features[edit]


  • Generates and grows amethyst clusters on any of its sides, 20% chance of it receives a random tick.[4]
    • The chance of the each sides are 1/6.
  • Unobtainable in survival.
  • Relatively rare, generates only in amethyst geode structures.
  • A type of glass that does not allow light to pass through.
  • Crafted with a glass block in the middle and 4 amethyst shards around it.
  • Drops itself when broken, even without Silk Touch, unlike glass.
  • New ore found underground.
  • Drops itself when broken, like other metal ores.
  • Spawns in ore veins similar to iron (current generation is not the final version).
  • Can be smelted into a copper ingot, which can be used to craft copper blocks, lightning rods, and spyglasses.
  • Copper blocks are used for storage.
  • Only cut copper can be used to make stairs and slabs.
    • Made with 4 copper blocks.
  • Develops a patina of pale green copper carbonate over multiple stages, which might be sped up by weather such as rain.
    • Honeycombs can be used to make waxed copper, which does not progress beyond the patina stage it has at the time.
  • Crafted with 3 copper ingots.
  • Redirects nearby lightning strikes to the top of the rod, which can prevent flammable structures from catching fire during thunderstorms.
  • Emits a redstone signal when struck by lightning.[6]
  • Can be oriented in different directions.[6]
  • Can create lightning when struck by a channeling trident in a thunder storm, but does not output a redstone signal.
  • A light source.
  • Can have up to four in a single block, similar to sea pickles.
  • Variants for uncolored and all 16 colors.
  • Emits fire particles.
  • Can be lit with a flint and steel or fire charge or an arrow fired from a flame-enchanted bow or a fire charge shot by a dispenser if it hits the candle.
  • When lit, the player can left click it to snuff it.
  • Can only be placed if there is a solid surface below.
    • Can still float if the block below them is broken.[7]
  • Right-clicking a candle on an uneaten cake makes a "birthday cake", which can have 1 candle placed on it.
  • Uncolored candle crafted with 1 string and 1 honeycomb
  • Colored candle crafted using one of the 16 dyes and one uncolored candle
  • Can be placed on a cake, and the candle can be lit on said cake.
  • If the cake is eaten, the candle will pop off.
  • Similar to snow, but entities fall through it, similar to cobwebs, but faster.
  • This is how regular snow layer blocks worked in old versions of Minecraft, but it was changed because it created accidental booby traps when lava ponds generated at the right height to cut out the ground but not the snow.
  • "Snowier snow" was announced to be part of the Mountains biome in the biome vote at MINECON Live 2019, which is related to powder snow.[9]
  • When wearing leather boots, it acts like scaffolding.
  • If the player does not have leather boots equipped and they walk or fall in, they will start to freeze.
  • Freezing lowers the player's FOV and puts a frosty vignette on their screen.
  • After a while, the player will start taking damage slowly.
  • Leather armor is supposed to slow freezing, but it is currently not working.
  • In the Bedrock Edition Beta powder snow can be used like a ladder
  • In the Bedrock Edition Beta jumping is the only way to stay on top of powder snow
  • Purely decorative and currently only available in creative inventory.
  • Comes in two forms, stalactites and stalagmites.
    • Stalactites hang from the ceiling and will drip water or lava, based on what was above them. The stalactites will still drip water naturally without a source block above but it does not fill cauldron.
      • Placing a cauldron under a stalactite will slowly fill the cauldron.
      • If the block in which a stalactite hangs on is broken, the stalactite will fall, and this will damage player and mobs.
    • Stalagmites are found on the floor of the cave and deal damage if landed on.
      • Falling from a greater height deals more damage than from a shorter height.


  • Using a bucket on powder snow creates a powder snow bucket.
  • Powder snow buckets can be used to place powder snow.
  • Powder snow buckets can also be filled from cauldrons filled with powder snow.
  • Can contain one cumulative stack of any variety of item types.
    • Stack sizes are sustained. For example, a bundle containing 32 blocks with a stack size of 64 could hold only an additional 8 ender pearls, as the stack size of an ender pearl is 16; the half stack of ender pearls added to the half stack of blocks is calculated as one full stack. Unstackable items like minecarts remain unstackable.
  • Displays a blue bar, similar to a durability bar, that shows how full it is, and it changes texture.
    • When full, the blue bar disappears.
  • Items are added by dragging the bundle to an item or by dragging items onto the bundle.
  • Tooltip shows icons of contained items.
  • Items drop to inventory when right clicked.
  • Are crafted with rabbit hide and string.
  • Crafted from amethyst shards and copper.
  • When used while held, it allows the player to see far away objects through a small square.
  • Switching to third person view while using the spyglass shows the player holding up the spyglass to where the eyes would be.
  • This feature is currently available in beta development versions of Bedrock Edition 1.16.200.
  • Goats have a chance to drop this item when they ram into a block.
  • Holding use while holding this item plays the raid horn sound effect.


  • This feature is currently available in beta development versions of Bedrock Edition 1.16.200.
  • Spawns in mountain biomes.
  • Can jump high to avoid obstacles, about 5 blocks tall.
  • Attacks nearby animals by charging and knocking them a considerable distance.
  • Takes reduced fall damage.
  • Avoids powder snow by jumping over it.
  • Can be bred with wheat, and produces 3-8 babies at once.
  • Has a chance to drop a goat horn when ramming into a block.

World generation[edit]

Geodes can also be generated underwater (the brightness is increased in the picture)
  • A tiny underground cave-like feature.
  • Contains tuff, calcite, blocks of amethyst, budding amethyst, and the amethyst clusters they generate.
  • Twinkle-like sounds can be heard near amethyst crystals, which used placeholder sounds when it was showcased, and not the final version.[10]
    • The sounds are caused by the amethyst blocks in the geode.

Planned additions[edit]

Please note that the names of many features are currently placeholders.


Restoring clay pots.png Clay Pot
  • Seems to use the texture of clay.
  • Ceramic Shards can be incorporated into an unfired pot.
  • Can be fired by lighting fire under the pot.
  • Pot can fit up to 8 Ceramic Shards.
Painted Clay Pot.png Painted Clay Pot
  • Seems to use the texture of terracotta.
  • Created by firing a clay pot.
  • Upon firing, any placed Ceramic Shards become permanently incorporated on to the clay pot.
Azalea Leaves.png Blooming Azalea Leaves.png Azalea Leaves
  • Part of a new tree, marking the location of the lush cave.
  • Has variants with either no blossoms, pink blossoms, or purple blossoms.
Baby azalea tree.png Baby blooming azalea tree.png Azalea Shrub[unofficial name]
  • Has variants with either no blossoms, pink blossoms, or purple blossoms.
Azalea Roots.png Azalea Roots
  • Part of the Azalea plant.
  • Resembles a dirt block, but with the roots of the Azalea tree intertwined.
  • Probably is the source of all the life in lush caves.
  • May be a new variant of the dirt block.
Roots bloody roots.png Hanging Azalea Roots[unofficial name]
  • Seen in the distance of a lush caves biome behind a spore blossom.
  • Can also be seen hanging beneath the dirt variant that spawns below the Azalea tree and on the ceiling in the axolotl clip, possibly just a decorative feature of this block.
New Vine.png New Vine 2.png Glow Berry Vines[unofficial name]
  • Light source.
  • Grows edible glow berries.
Spore Blossom.png Spore Blossom
  • Can be placed on ceilings.
  • Sends particles downward when opened.
  • This item can be found in the lush caves.
Dripleaf Plant Deb2.png Dripleaf Plant
  • A plant that can be used for platforming.
  • If the player stands on top of the plant for 2 seconds (40 ticks), the player falls through the plant.
  • Can be placed on a grass block.
Baby dripleaf plants.png Small Dripleaf Plant[unofficial name]
  • Appears highly varied in models.
Unidentified foliage object.png Moss Block[unofficial name]
  • An opaque block that appears grassy on all sides.
  • Can be found in lush caves.
Foliage carpet.png Moss Blanket[unofficial name]
  • Same texture as the moss block, but one pixel thick.
Sculk Block Dev2.png Sculk Block
  • Generates in the mysterious new cave biome, referred to as the "deep dark" temporarily.
  • Has an animated texture
  • May be used in redstone as seen in this video when they talk about the sculk sensor.[1]
Unidentified Sculk Block.png Sculk Trap[unofficial name]
This image shows the sculk blocks in redstone implying that the other sculk blocks also have redstone uses.
  • Generates in the deep dark biome
  • Has a different top texture than the Sculk Block and Sculk Chute.[11]
  • May be used in redstone as seen in this video when they talk about the sculk sensor.[2]
Sculk Something Dev2.png Sculk Chute[unofficial name]
  • Generates in the deep dark caves.
  • Made of sculk and a bone-like material.[12]
  • May be used in redstone as seen in this video when they talk about the sculk sensor.[3]
Sculk Growth Dev2.png Sculk Growth
  • Generates in the deep dark cave biome.
  • Generates in a layer on top of blocks, similar to snow.
  • Some have parts that are transparent, allowing the player to see the block it is on top of.
  • May be used in redstone as seen in this video when they talk about the sculk sensor.[4]
Sculk Sensor Dev4.png Sculk Sensor
  • Generates in the deep dark cave biome.
  • Can be used for wireless redstone.
  • Senses vibrations created by things such as block placement, footsteps, and projectiles, including fishing rods.[13]
  • Wool can occlude its ability to sense. This can be placed between or completely around the source of the input.
  • Can be used with a piston to create a wireless redstone clock.
  • Particle of the Vibration.gif Emits particles when it senses a vibration nearby.
  • Are not affected by ambient weather such as rain,[14] as well as other sculk sensors and the warden.[15]
Unnamed Stone.png Darkstone[unofficial name]
  • Can be found around the deep dark cave biome walls.
  • Can be found in large chunks.
Unspecified underground light sources
  • A video by Henrik Kniberg explicitly states that the temporary showcased feature of ore blocks emitting light was intended as a placeholder for underground light sources, potentially hinting at further new cave light sources.[16]


Axolotl Bucket JE1.png Bucket of Axolotl
  • Obtained by using a water bucket on an axolotl, similar to fish.
  • Had no name in the Minecraft Live 2020 demo, showing its translation string item.minecraft.axolotl_bucket.
Brush.png Brush
  • Used to sweep away debris from archaeological items.
  • Sweeps debris off archaeological items one layer at a time. If interrupted, the block it was being used on simply disappears, and does not yield custom block heights.
  • Also comes in a blue-green variant: Brush 2.png
    • This may imply a connection to copper, as both the variant and normal brushes have corresponding colors to the blocks shown.
Blue Ceramic Shard.png Orange Ceramic Shard.png Ceramic Shard 1.png Ceramic Shard 2.png Ceramic Shard 3.png Ceramic Shard 4.png Ceramic Shards
  • Obtained with a brush at archeological sites.
  • Come in different colors and different designs, each depicting a different picture, such as an ender dragon, a cow, alex, a skeleton, a tree and a vindicator.
  • Can be placed/customized on clay pots.
  • Currently using placeholder art, according to Jasper Boerstra.[17]
Glow Berries
Spawn Eggs
  • Warden Spawn Egg.png The Warden spawn egg is visually confirmed but not yet implemented.[18]


Axolotl (albino).png Axolotl (brown).png Axolotl (green).png Axolotl
"Axolotl" redirects here. For the music track, see Music § Underwater music.
  • Based on the critically endangered Mexican salamander with the same name in real life.
  • Found in bodies of water within lush caves biomes.
  • The first amphibian added to Minecraft.
  • Can be caught in a bucket like fish.
    • Can be tamed by capturing it in a bucket.
  • Come in different colors (leucistic, yellow, green, brown, and purple/pink).[3]
  • Plays dead when damaged, receiving Regeneration. Appears to turn invisible or teleport after this, although the latter may be just a bug or a glitch.
    • This regeneration ability is likely based on how real axolotls can regrow lost limbs.
  • Attacks drowned, guardians, elder guardians and fish. Damage is yet to be confirmed.
  • Sometimes can give Regeneration to the player who tamed it.
Glow Squid.png Glow Squid
Warden.png Warden
A picture of the Warden and Iron Golem standing side by side
  • Spawns in the new deep dark biome.
  • The first blind mob.
  • When sensing movement, it moves toward the source of the movement.
    • When attacked, it path finds toward the player.
    • Seems to follow the same rules as the sculk sensor when detecting noise.
      • When it detects a vibration, the growths on its head rattle and light up, similar to the sculk sensor.
    • If any projectile, like a snowball or an arrow, is thrown and lands near the Warden, it causes the mob to head to the location of where the projectile landed, due to the projectile creating movement and noise. This tactic can be used in order to cause a distraction.
    • Does not detect players that are sneaking.
    • Can detect players that are invisible.[20]
    • Can detect players using elytra.[21]
    • When aggravated for long enough, the warden follows the player continuously, regardless of any other distractions.
    • Attacks any mob that makes vibrations, not just players.[22]
    • Can detect ringing bells.[23]
    • Can detect players eating.[24]
  • Incredibly strong, doing 30♥ × 15 damage, bringing players wearing full netherite armor from full health to 7♥♥♥♥ health points.
  • Has at least 84♥ × 42 health points, although it is estimated to have up to 100♥ × 50, putting it on par with the iron golem and ravager.[note 1]
  • A mob designed to be extremely difficult, and fled from.[25]
  • Has a way to counter the strategy of building up 3 blocks to avoid attacks.[26]
  • At least as fast as the player's walking speed.
    • Seems to use the energy of vibrations to move faster.
  • Seems to have knockback resistance.
  • The warden's chest has a glowing core that appears to brighten and dim in tandem with the ambient lighting of the deep dark cave biome.
    • The core creates a low throbbing sound as it pulses. The sound and animation seem to speed up rapidly when the warden notices a player.
  • Is about 3.2 blocks tall, making it one of the tallest mobs in the game, exceeding the iron golem and enderman in height and width (the same).[note 2][27][more information needed]

World generation[edit]

Archaeological excavation
  • A new semi-underground structure where archeological items and ceramic shards can be found.[verify]
Deep dark biome
  • New biome at the "deepest depths of the world".
  • Wardens can spawn here.
  • May contain candles.
  • Contains sculk blocks, and the new Sculk Sensor Blocks, a new block that responds to vibrations.
  • Contains a new Darkstone.[unofficial name]
Dripstone caves
  • A massive cave biome containing vast quantities of stalactites and stalagmites.
Lush caves
  • Generate below azalea trees.
  • Contains tall grass, glow berries, dripleaf plants, spore blossoms, moss blocks, moss blankets, clay blocks, azalea roots, and azalea saplings.
  • Can spawn axolotls.
Mesh caves
  • Seems to be possibly a large tunnel-like cave.
  • Not much is known about this biome yet, but it was confirmed on Twitter by Henrik Kniberg.[28]
  • Possibly contain "catacomb" style branching cave sections.
  • More extreme and smooth terrain.
  • Likely change to the generation of alternate stone types, to make them appear in larger but less numerous deposits.[29]
    • Possibly seen in a screenshot tweeted by Henrik Kniberg,[30] in which diorite appears to generate in a long and flat horizontal strip, rather than a small unevenly shaped patch.


  • The player can find items and blocks in gravel and dirt inside the dig site structure by using the brush.
  • Possible items shown in the preview footage include:
Dimming of light[unofficial name]
  • While in the deep dark cave biome, the ambient lighting occasionally dims temporarily, limiting the player's visibility. This serves as a warning that the warden is nearby.[31]
  • An action can cause vibrations in the air, which can be picked up by sculk sensors and wardens
  • Can be caused by walking (but bats?), block placing, block breaking, doors or trapdoors opening, chests of any kind opening, pistons activating, and projectiles such as snowballs, eggs, or arrows landing. This does not include ambient weather such as rain or snow [14]

Planned changes[edit]


  • Used to block a sculk sensor's ability to sense vibrations.
A picture of the local water levels in use forming an underground lake or ocean shown at Minecraft Live 2020.

World generation[edit]

  • Complete generation overhaul.
  • Many variations on cave types and cave design.
  • Biomes within caves introduced.
Local water levels
  • A new underground water level generation aspect has been introduced, which allows for certain areas of a world to generate with a specified water level different from that of another area (such as sea level).
  • Allows for the generation of larger underground lakes and connections to oceans.
  • Allows for the generation of many underground waterfalls.
  • Allows for underwater entrances.
Mineral veins
  • To be revamped, possibly to balance the generation of copper.
  • Some stone appears a little different and when that stone is mined, more of the ore should be found behind it.
Other Stones
  • Diorite and what appears to be tuff spawn in layers of rock in straight lines instead of splotches.
An example of how the other stones may generate

Unconfirmed features[edit]

These features are not confirmed for 1.17, but were mentioned or showcased by developers during the development of 1.17. Main article: Mentioned features.


Underground Cabin[unofficial name]
  • Seen in the Deep Dark biome during the Minecraft Live 2020 stream.[32]
  • Consists of a chamber with a cobblestone floor and stripped log support beams, containing 3 barrels, a blast furnace, and a large chest, with cobwebs and candles in and around it.
  • May possibly not be a generated structure, but instead a construction built for the purpose of the Warden showcase.


Height Limit

  • May be increased.[33]


  • Swedish painter John Bauer was one of the main inspirations behind the design and idea of the lush caves biome, specifically Bauer's 'Oskuldens Vandring' (Innocent's Journey) painting.
  • This is the first update to add a new ore to the overworld since emerald ore was added in 1.3.1 (12w21a) for Java Edition and v0.9.0 alpha for Bedrock Edition, in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
  • This is the first update to add a real-world metal into the game since Classic 0.0.14a in 2009 for Java Edition, which brought both iron and gold, and v0.3.0 alpha in 2012 for Bedrock Edition, which brought iron.
  • Although the axolotl is the first amphibian mob implemented into Minecraft, it was not the first announced one, since frogs were announced during the MINECON Live 2019 biome vote.
  • Despite ores being shown to emit light during the reveal of this update, this was later confirmed to be just for demonstration purposes, to give a much clearer vision for viewers, and not for the final version.
    • It was confirmed to be a placeholder for new, biome-specific light sources.[16]
  • The name "Sculk sensor" is derived from the word "skulk", meaning "keep out of sight, typically with a sinister or cowardly motive".[11]
  • Mojang employees explored real caves to research for the update. This helped give inspiration and ideas for the update, including for the mesh caves.[34][35]
  • Tinted Glass is the name of Stained glass in the April fool's joke Minecraft 2
  • As of Java Edition 1.17 (20w45a), Waxed Lightly Weathered Cut Copper Stairs is the longest item name in the game, with 41 characters.
  • Lava can be placed in a cauldron even if the cauldron is underwater.
  • The artstyle of the concept art for Caves & Cliffs was inspired by the concept art of Diamonds and Lemons, the Adventure Time episode featuring a Minecraft crossover.[37]


Screenshots of the Caves & Cliffs Update from Minecraft Live 2020 and other sources:

Concept artwork[edit]


  1. This health amount is only an estimate based on the amount of damage it was shown to survive during Minecraft Live 2020, and therefore is uncertain.
  2. Height of the Warden is based from the image found on twitter.


  1. "Minecraft Live 2020 @ 2:10:28"– Minecraft on YouTube, October 3, 2020
  2. "correct."@rebecca_yeun in response to "So is there no end of year update this year ?"@eckoxsoldier
  3. a b c d "Minecraft Live: The Recap" –, October 3, 2020
  4. a b "Yes :)"@Cojomax99 in response to "I notice that the Amethyst Crystal can be generated sideways, My question is does it can be upside down?"@elegado_mark
  5. a b "My last tweet was probably not a teaser, but this one almost definitely is"@Cojomax99
  6. a b "Chaos when testing the lightning rod"@_LadyAgnes
  7. "They can still float, you just can't place them in the air to begin with." - @slicedlime
  8. "Powder Snow!! Couldn't wait to talk to you about this one - especially to our technical players who build awesome farms! Let me know what you think about a new trap possibility! More details soon! #MinecraftLive"@Mega_Spud
  9. "And speaking of snow, yes, it will be snowier. We will also have a new block called 'powder snow'" — Vu Bui on "Minecraft Live 2020 @ 48:25"– Minecraft on YouTube
  10. "the sounds in the Live video are not the sounds we will be using for the amethyst crystal blocks - those were placeholders, as with most things shown in Live ;)"@Cojomax99
  11. a b "While not related, Sculk name was inspired by Jeb's process with naming the Shulkers - he liked the word "Lurker", but changed it around a bit to feel new. Sculk is one letter changed of Skulk, meaning "keep out of sight, typically with a sinister or cowardly motive""@kingbdogz
  12. "That is actually a bone-like material, not End Stone :)" - @kingbdogz
  14. a b "Small interesting tidbit: We made the design decision for Sculk Sensors to not be affected by ambient weather like rain. My logic for this is "habituation", where the Sculk Sensor essentially becomes used to the constant stimulus, no longer registering it as a vibration"@kingbdogz
  15. "I think this could be a really unfun mechanic if rain can suddenly mess up your redstone contraptions. This is also why Sculk Sensors don't react to each other, nor the Warden, since they're so accustomed to vibrations of their "species" that it's background noise they block out"@kingbdogz
  16. a b "Once Upon a Time in the Underground (Minecraft cave prototype) @ 0:27"– Henrik Kniberg on YouTube, October 8, 2020
  17. "Note: Everything in the archeology vid was placeholder art"@JasperBoerstra
  18. "Feeling kinda short myself..."@kingbdogz
  19. "The other two will go back to the ideas pile. They might come in the future, they might never happen. Choose wisely!"@_Ulraf_, October 1, 2020
  20. "Wardens will still be able to detect entities that are invisible :)"@kingbdogz
  21. "I believe so, yes."@kingbdogz in response to "Will the skulk detect players that flying with elytra?(without rocket)"@TRnone12
  22. "Correct."@kingbdogz in response to "Does that mean the Warden will attack any mob that makes a vibration, not just the player?"@RealZombieManF
  23. "Bells make movement so you will ;)"@kingbdogz
  24. "Yes"@kingbdogz in response to "It will detect when you eat?"@Otto96680070
  25. "I'd actually consider it something entirely new. The Warden is a force of nature, not a boss. When a tornado is barreling toward you, you don't try to kill it - you run away! The Warden is exactly the same."@kingbdogz
  26. "It absolutely has some tricks up its sleeves to counter that particular strategy :)"@kingbdogz
  27. "Looking kinda short there, Iron Golem."@kingbdogz
  28. "Mesh caves. You'll see it later."@henrikkniberg
  29. "Lol been prototyping that today actually! Thx for the pic though very useful."@henrikkniberg
  30. "Sometimes weird things happen when messing around with world generation. The villagers up there look mighty confused :) #devbloopers"@henrikkniberg
  31. "The mechanical purpose is to warn you that the Warden is nearby. You should get ready if you start to see pure darkness like that..."@kingbdogz
  33. "We can say that we are looking into it, but we can unfortunately not promise anything at this point" - Agnes Larsson on "Ask Mojang: All About Caves & Cliffs @ 8:53"– Minecraft on YouTube, October 30, 2020
  34. "Yes, and yes. Was hoping to do a larger field trip to different countries with interesting caves, but covid got in the way so we had stay more local."@henrikkniberg, October 23, 2020
  35. "Mesh caves were inspired by this field trip."@henrikkniberg, October 21, 2020
  36. "I used to travel a lot in the past though (before becoming aware of climate change), and I like visiting caves, so I dug up memories from fascinating cave visits in Spain, South Africa, New Zealand, and British Virgin Isles and some other places."@henrikkniberg, October 23, 2020
  38. "Archy is just adding more GAMEPLAY to exploring these structures and uncovering ancient artifacts"@_Ulraf_, October 28, 2020