NEWER EDIT : This post was originally written in Dec. 2010. Some information may not be applicable or seriously outdated. I will not be revising the OP again to update it to the current patch. Any additional techniques or information I come up with will simply be added to the thread as new posts. Post #245(page 13) is an example of a new technique I'm using that I've been calling "vector mining", or sometimes "cluster mining". I now use this method in conjunction with my layer 11 technique detailed below for even higher diamond yields.
EDIT: revised to go better with IscopeU's video. HOPE IT HELPS!
heres an awesome video of the technique made by IscopeU.
so i noticed after the beta update that there seemed to be an increase to the number/size of deep lava pools being generated compared to alpha and decided to put an old theory of mine to the test. due to the seemingly higher lava pool generation, the probability of your finding mineral deposits surrounding these would also increase. THIS IS NOT DUE TO INCREASED MINERAL GENERATION SURROUNDING LAVA POOLS BUT BECAUSE OF THE INCREASED VISIBILITY LAVA POOLS WILL GIVE YOU, WHICH IN TURN INCREASES YOUR EFFICIENCY, similar to natural cave systems.
ive always thought that layer 12(when you hold F3 it should display your y coordinates as 12.6435435 or something) would be a great place to mine but always came up about even in terms of diamond finds when compared to more traditional 1x2 branch mines i was using on layers 6-14. layer 12 has a unique feature that no other layer in the game has, its the only place you can find large lava pools. you essentially want to use a bucket of water to turn these pools into a giant obsidian "highway" for you to walk on.
*THERE ARE MANY NUANCES TO THIS TECHNIQUE AS YOU ARE FREQUENTLY SPELUNKING TO FIND YOUR DIAMONDS AND MAY NOT BE FOR BEGINNERS WHO ARE EXPECTING TO MINDLESSLY MINE IN A STRAIGHT LINE AND FIND 345735983457934 DIAMONDS*
you will need to use your knowledge, intuition, experience and a little bit of luck for good results. just digging in a straight line may not yield as expected.
KEY THINGS TO NOTE THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN IN THE ABOVE VIDEO-
1. you will NEED a bucket of water, just do it.
2. its a good idea to dig around lava pools with no exposed rock to check for adjoining pools/cave systems.
3. CHECK CAVES THOROUGHLY!!! IscopeU almost walks straight past the 2nd diamond vein in the above video simply because it was not easily visible.
4. BE AWARE. listen for water/monters/dungeons to help guide you to nearby caves.
5. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR WHEN BUILDING YOUR MINE! i suggest building your mine above or even inside(i generally build inside and use a 2x1 shaft with ladders straight down) large surface cave systems. this can dramatically increase the chance you will hit a deep cave network with all the "noise" in those chunks. i will generally hit large cave networks around layers 15-20 before i can even finish my main shaft when doing this.
6. DONT BE AFRAID TO START A NEW MINE!! when youre covering the kind of ground you should be in cave systems, you may end up with a HUGE sprawling "mine" and few unexplored caves nearby. dont be scared to go out into the world and start a new mine a thousand blocks away, link everything with nether portals. theyre in the game for a reason, what takes an hour to walk in the overworld takes 5mins in the nether. i realize that it wont be "next to your spawn", dont care. make a bed and you have a brand new spawn... so stop being a wuss and get out there exploring your infinite world to get your hands on some of those infinite diamonds!
7. its often a good idea to check around other mineral deposits for diamond even when youre not mining it. redstone can be a good indicator for diamond, gold ive found, is generally the opposite. The texture pack in the pic below is long lost in the old beta forums, so dont ask what it is, i dont know.
+1 to what sawses said. 12 layers down humm? idk if i don't understand the layer system correctly but that just dosen't seem very far down.
either way great guide. i will be trying this soon
By layer 12, he means the 12th layer from the very bottom of the map. Just dig down very far and look around until you find huge lava lakes, you'll know it when you see it. Alternatively, as Adversity said, hold F3 to see which layer you're on (it's the Y-coordinate that is displayed).
Except that there are no correlation between lava pools and diamond veins. People only believe that because the caves that are deep enough to have diamonds in them are flooded with lava.
EDIT : I guess I have to give it credit as a good way to find unflooded deep caves. According to the old mining thread, diamonds are found from layer 1 to 16 (and sometimes 17 but more rarely), and magma pools are found in any caves that is at or below layer 10, kinda like the sea level.
Somehow, looking for diamonds doesn't work for me. When I don't look for them, I find them everywhere. On a side note, I thought iron is located in sea level and below, I just found iron in a lava lake high in the mountains.
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well now diamond are in layer 1-19. and yes this method can be effective as you don't need dig up all that stone. but most diamond are middle in roc without any connection to lava pools. this is same as speluking caves for other minerals.
I don't think this is true. Ever single diamond I've found is my hollowing out the area around a lava pool. Hater's gonna hate our lava method I say.
And every single diamond I found was away from lava pools, probably because I avoid lava like the plague (it burns and is annoying to get rid off). Please give proof of a magma pool / diamond correlation, and I'll believe you.
EDIT : Here are a few cartograph shots of a newly generated map, with only lava and diamonds shown. No signs of any correlation.
I overlayed the two maps. There are a large number of instances of diamonds touching the lava. Mining efficiency is 'number of exposed sides/time' using this method you are exposing a large number of sides in a very short amount of time.
IIRC, the chance that any tile contains diamons is static at around .3%. This doesnt change if a tile is touching lava or not.
Im my base I have a tunnel that on a 1/3 grade down to level 13, then straight on from there. I mine at night, build during the day. This method has givien me a much more efficient way to spend my nights, and get a bunch of obsian with out dealing with a farm.
The main reason lava and diamonds are together, is that they both appear on the same layer. So just by coincidence, they overlap. To add to that, lava has it's own cavern most of the time. So it is going to be easier to expose the diamond, as long as you don't fall in!
i cant remeber it but there is a thing ... between certain layers (layer x - 18 ) diamonds will apear in groups ... generaly as i cant remeber the starting number ,, (and i know its above 8 ) i mine at layer 15
diamonds can be found in other places but in layer something to 18 they will be found in groups .. so the best place to mine is there
Okay so i dig at layer 6 no diamond, i dig at layer 16 no diamond. I read this dig at 12 now i have 45 diamond.
All i did was dig a 1x2 tunnel in a straight line and diamond started popping up on the walls of my tunnel layer 12 is most definitely the secret to finding diamond.
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