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Explosion

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A TNT explosion.

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 1p, where p is the explosion power. So, a creeper blast (uncharged) has a 13 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.

Explosion strength[edit]

Explosion Type Power Notes
Wither (when created) 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
Underwater TNT[Bedrock and Education editions only] 4 Damage Terrain, even when underwater
Creeper 3
Ghast fireball 1 Starts fires
Black wither skull 1
Dangerous wither skull 1 Treats blast radius blocks (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.

Despite being damaging to entities, fireworks do not destroy terrain and as such are not counted as conventional explosions.

Cauldrons perform a non-terrain-damaging explosion when incompatible liquids are mixed.‌[Bedrock and Legacy Console editions only]

Lab tables sometimes perform a non-terrain damaging explosion when creating garbage item.‌[Bedrock and Education editions only]

Comparison of explosion craters, from wither skull (top left), wither (far left), creeper (left), charged creeper (right) and TNT (far right).

Effect[edit]

Model of block destruction[edit]

The rays from the explosion center to points that are uniformly distributed on the surface of a cube centered at the explosion with an edge length of 2. (However, this defines only their directions, not their length).
The roughly spherical pattern of blocks destroyed can be seen here.

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.

An explosion must be very powerful (power ~1542860) to destroy a bedrock block.
  1. 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.
  2. Each ray is given an intensity, calculated as (0.7 + [a random value from 0 to 0.6]) × [power].
  3. 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.
  4. 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) = Blast radius in the air.svg == 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[edit]

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.

  1. 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).
  2. The entity is damaged by ((impact×impact+impact)×7×power+1) rounded down (armor enchantments for damage are handled separately).
  3. After damage, exposure is reduced by (exposure×[max Blast Protection from all armor]×0.15).
  4. 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.
A primed TNT AABB has directionally asymmetrical sample points (1/2.96 spacing) because of rounding.

Calculation of explosion exposure[edit]

  1. 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.
  2. A ray is drawn from the explosion center to each point.
  3. 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.

Causing fire[edit]

If the explosion has the ability, it randomly starts fires in ⅓ of all destroyed air blocks that are above opaque blocks.

Prolonged lag[edit]

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.

Blast resistance[edit]

[edit values]

Block name Blast resistance
Barrier 18,000,003
Bedrock 18,000,000
Structure Block 18,000,000
Command Block 18,000,000
End Gateway Block 18,000,000
End Portal 18,000,000
End Portal Frame 18,000,000
Anvil 6,000
Enchantment Table 6,000
Obsidian 6,000
Ender Chest 3,000
Bubble Column 500
Lava 500
Water 500
Dragon Egg 45
End Stone 45
Block of Coal 30
Block of Diamond 30
Block of Emerald 30
Block of Gold 30
Block of Iron 30
Block of Redstone 30
Bricks 30
Brick Stairs 30
Andesite 30
Cobblestone 30
Cobblestone Stairs 30
Cobblestone Wall 30
Diorite 30
Granite 30
Iron Bars 30
Jukebox 30
Mossy Cobblestone 30
Nether Bricks 30
Nether Brick Fence 30
Nether Brick Stairs 30
Prismarine 30
Purpur Block 30
Purpur Pillar 30
Purpur Slab 30
Purpur Stairs 30
Red Nether Bricks 30
Shulker Box 30
Stone 30
Stone Bricks 30
Stone Brick Stairs 30
Stone Slabs 30
Iron Door 25
Iron Trapdoor 25
Spawner 25
Hopper 24
Terracotta 21
Cobweb 20
Dispenser 17.5
Dropper 17.5
Furnace 17.5
Observer 17.5
Beacon 15
Coal Ore 15
Cocoa 15
Diamond Ore 15
Block name Blast resistance
Emerald Ore 15
Fences 15
Fence Gates 15
Gold Ore 15
Iron Ore 15
Lab Table 15
Lapis Lazuli Block 15
Lapis Lazuli Ore 15
Nether Quartz Ore 15
Redstone Ore 15
Trapdoors 15
Planks 15
Wooden Doors 15
Wooden Slabs 15
Wooden Stairs 15
Chest 12.5
Crafting Table 12.5
Trapped Chest 12.5
Bone Block 10
Cauldron 10
Compound Creator 10
Wood 10
Concrete 9
Bookshelf 7.5
Glazed Terracotta 7
Banners 5
Jack o'Lantern 5
Melon 5
Heads 5
Nether Wart Block 5
Pumpkin 5
Signs 5
End Stone Bricks 4
Block of Quartz 4
Quartz Stairs 4
Note Block 4
Red Sandstone 4
Red Sandstone Stairs 4
Sandstone 4
Sandstone Stairs 4
Wool 4
Infested Blocks ?
Activator Rail 3.5
Detector Rail 3.5
Powered Rail 3.5
Rail 3.5
Grass Path 3.25
Clay 3
Farmland 3
Grass Block 3
Gravel 3
Sponge 3
Wet Sponge 3
Brewing Stand 2.5
Buttons 2.5
Cake 2.5
Coarse Dirt 2.5
Concrete Powder 2.5
Dirt 2.5
Frosted Ice 2.5
Hay Bale 2.5
Ice 2.5
Block name Blast resistance
Packed Ice 2.5
Lever 2.5
Magma Block 2.5
Mycelium 2.5
Piston 2.5
Moving Piston ?
Piston Head 2.5
Podzol 2.5
Pressure Plates 2.5
Sand 2.5
Soul Sand 2.5
Sticky Piston 2.5
Weighted Pressure Plates 2.5
Cactus 2
Chorus Flower 2
Chorus Plant 2
Ladder 2
Netherrack 2
Glass 1.5
Glass Pane 1.5
Glowstone 1.5
Redstone Lamp 1.5
Sea Lantern 1.5
Stained Glass 1.5
Stained Glass Panes 1.5
Beds 1
Daylight Sensor 1
Mushroom Blocks 1
Leaves 1
Snow Block 1
Vines 1
Carpets 0.5
Snow 0.5
Air 0
Beetroots 0
Carrots 0
Dead Bush 0
End Rod 0
Fire 0
Flower Pot 0
Flowers 0
Grass 0
Lily Pad 0
Locked chest 0
Melon Stem 0
Mushrooms 0
Nether Portal 0
Nether Wart 0
Potatoes ?
Pumpkin Stem 0
Redstone Comparator 0
Redstone Repeater 0
Redstone Torch 0
Redstone Dust 0
Saplings 0
Slime Block 0
Structure Void 0
Sugar Cane 0
TNT 0
Torch 0
Tripwire 0
Tripwire Hook 0
Wheat 0

Typical damage radius[edit]

The player receives damage, if within these radii of a 100% exposure ground 1 block, 2 blocks, or 4 blocks of TNT explosion, with the amount of damage labeled on each circle in the figures below.

KillRadiiGrenade1.png KillRadiiGrenade2.png KillRadiiGrenade4.png

History[edit]

May 21, 2009Notch shows interest in adding an explosive block.
Java Edition Classic
0.24_SURVIVAL_TESTAdded creepers.
October 24, 2009Showed off TNT.
?Added 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
v1.2.0previewAdded ghasts, which shoot explosive ghast fireballs.
Java Edition Beta
1.5Creepers 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 UpdateThe 'Sound Update' on November 11th, 2011 gave TNT a new explosion sound.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 Prerelease 3Bed and ghast fireballs explosions now cause fires.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4When 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 6End 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.
1.3.112w24aFixed 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.
1.4.212w34aAdded the wither, which shoots black wither skulls.
12w37aAn emergent wither now make a massive explosion when its health is fully charged.
Blue wither skulls added.
12w38bNew 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.
1.8.2pre1Explosions are now no longer directionally biased.
1.1419w11aDestroyed blocks from TNT or minecart with TNT explosions now have a 100% chance of dropping as items.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.1.0Added TNT.
0.2.1TNT now actually explodes.
0.4.0Added creepers.
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.
0.16.0build 4Wither added.
Pocket Edition
1.0.0alpha 0.17.0.1End crystal added.
When the player tries to sleep in the End, they now cause the bed to explode.
1.0.7Explosions no longer deal damage to a player, if the explosion is in water.
Bedrock Edition
1.4.0beta 1.2.20.1Creating garbage in Lab Table sometimes cause explosion sound.
Added Underwater TNT, which can damage terrain underwater.

Trivia[edit]

  • 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 won't affect any blocks, regardless of the blocks' blast resistance.
  • Underwater explosions won'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 will do block damage.