Underground Structures in Minecraft

As you explore underground, you will find many structures that will either present an opportunity for adventure, or get in the way when you’re trying to do your mining, depending on your mood.

Exploring these structures can be an effective alternative to mining for ores.


These are natural caverns, usually consisting of long, winding passages and caverns, often containing underground streams and lakes. As you go deeper, you will increasingly run into pools of lava, too.


These structures contain a [mob spawner](mobs.html#mob-spawners, and 1 or 2 chests full of treasure! You will have to battle skeletons, zombies or spiders to get the goodies, though.

Dungeon with Skeleton

The green mossy cobblestone is a sure sign of a dungeon.

Inactivate the mob spawner by placing torches all around it, or destroy it with a pickaxe.

Inactivated Spawner

Placing torches like this will make the dungeon safe.

Abandoned Mineshafts

Abandoned Mineshaft

You’re not the first person to mine these lands after all! You will often come across somebody else’s abandoned mineshafts.

Abandoned Mineshaft

They contain rails, wooden supports, treasure chests, and spawners producing poisonous cave-spiders.

Cave Spider Spawner

The spider-webs can be cleared with a sword or shears to provide string (and string can be converted to wool). The supports provide a good underground source of wooden planks and fence posts (which can be burned for fuel).


Minecraft Ravine

These huge chasms are spectacular sights, but don’t fall off a ledge!


Minecraft Stronghold

These underground fortresses are built from a different kind of stone brick, and contain doors and railings that are not found elsewhere. You will also find mystical libraries, and a special mob called a Silverfish that isn’t found anywhere else.

Stronghold library

The final thing you will find is a chamber containing an End Portal, and that’s your main reason for wanting to find a Stronghold.

Minecraft End Portal

Exploring Underground Structures

Exploring underground is a fun part of the game; it can also be a great way to find precious ores and minerals.

There are three main dangers when exploring underground; monsters, falling into lava, and getting lost.

What to take with you

Essential items

  • Torches!
  • Wood (to make more torches! You should find plenty of coal as you explore). Also, you might want to make a crafting table and chests to store your treasure.
  • Food.
  • Tools: pickaxes and shovels are essential, an axe is useful in abandoned mineshafts where you might want to hack at the wooden supports.
  • Weapons - a sword, a bow and lots of arrows.

Optional items

  • A bucket of water - useful if you set yourself on fire.
  • An empty bucket might be useful for moving water and lava around.
  • Redstone and/or redstone torches to help you navigate.
  • Some people take saplings so they will never run out of wood.
  • Wolves: they will fight monsters for you, but might also get in the way.
  • A compass to find your way home if you emerge somewhere unexpected. A Map might be useful too.

Helpful Tips

Keep your hunger at bay by eating regularly, so that if you lose health from a fall or a mob attack, it will start regenerating straight away.

Light up all the caves and passages you explore with torches; that way they should be safe areas where monsters don’t spawn.

If you have collected some valuables, maybe a few diamonds or a lot of ore, consider building a chest to store it in safely. Be sure you will be able to find it again though!

Getting lost

It’s very confusing underground. Try to make it easy to find your way back by always placing torches on the same side. Redstone and redstone torches can be used to leave markings.

If you’re really lost, you may have to dig a staircase to the surface and find your way home. Be aware that there’s a very good chance you will come up under the ocean and have to swim to the surface quickly before you drown.

A compass will help you find your way back to your original spawn point, or the last bed you slept in.

If you die

When you die in Minecraft, you will find yourself either by the last bed you slept in, or at the point where you first started the game.

If you died by falling in lava, I have bad news for you: all your stuff is gone!

If you died by falling or were killed by mobs, you might be able to reclaim your stuff if you can find it in 5 minutes. You will be tempted to rush, but make sure you have armour, weapons, food, torches and at least a pickaxe before you go!