So, I'm relatively new to Minecraft. Surely there are many things I have yet to unravel, but I can't get my head around something i recently discovered. I tried to google it, but since I can't quite give this phenomenon a propper name, I failed in getting anwers. In lack of a better term I call it "world decay" and i hope you can answer me the question i asked in the title.
First, I started noticing, that certain routes i used regularly to travel inbetween mining spots and housing were sometimes changing ever so slightly. Where the terrain started slowly rising, sometimes the steps would be shorter or wider than I remembered it. But since I don't count blocks while running, I thought maybe I was wrong, remembering it falsely. Then the holes started showing up.
Between a house I build and a nearby village i went regularly to trade with, I had to cross a small, relatively flat plains biome. Some small lakes and craters around the direct path to the village I marked with torches, so I wouldn't fall in and get slowed down. After a few dozend times I was surprised when I discovered a three blocks wide hole leading into a fairly large cave on a spot where thought I had ran by at least 20 times and apparently never noticed before. I put some torches around it and went on. A few times later the hole was four blocks in diameter. I checked the perimeter for every single hole that was at least two blocks deep and put a light source next to it. After that, I regularely pillared up and looked at the terrain at night At this point now, half of the plains biome is lit up.
Parallel to that I had the feeling, that the two small lakes, that generated inside the village i visited frequently, were starting to get bigger as well, in diamter as in depth. At first, this seemed like a pretty cool thing, like the sandy embankment would slowly wash away over time. Then this happened and it stopped being cool really fast:
[screenshot1 in the attachment]
I know for a fact that these houses were fully functional the last time i was here, not only because the one on the left was home to a guy with a paper trade so good you could almost call him a friend. As you may have noticed, the damage of both houses are within the borders of a single chunk and everything outside that chunk remained completly unharmed by whatever happened here. Insinde this chunk although, strangly some areas remain intact.
That is not the only chunk that is affected by this "decay", but by far the most affected one. I wonder if this is a built in feature that only bugged out in this case. If so, I start to wonder what's the point of minecraft when everything you build disappeares over time anyway. However, so far the "decay" has only been occuring on blocks I never interacted with. The houses were generated with that village, I did not build anything visible on the screenshot myself, aside from placing torches and carpets - even on the now dissapeared parts of the houses.
What is it that I'm dealing with here? A loading error that got stuck after rendering the area? A flaw in the code, a known bug maybe? I play on Java Edition 1.14, Vanilla, all recent updates included. I never installed any data packs or skins, nothing of game has been tampered with.
Additionally I have to say: I can't stop you from dumping your Herobrine-storys here but be warned, if you do, you will get laughed at.
I had a very similar issue but with stuff I had built over somewhat returning back to what it was but also 8x8 areas becoming completely new biomes as i had a strip of roofed forest become desert. I think it might just be corruption of the save due to low memory causing chunks to return to a past state or being replaced by another chunk somewhere else,