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May 7, 2013Posted in: Survival ModeQuote from Eldritch
I've heard of strip mining, excavation, tunnels, and good old fashioned searching. Which is best to find the maximum amount of resources?
Branch mining is the most effective way, and branch mining at the right depth is also very important.
There are several different schemes people prefer for how to set up their branch mining tunnels. I'm not going to get into the argument about which one is the most efficient or requires the least amount of walking. Truth be told they are all almost identical in their results and the differences are so tiny that you would have to be really obsessed with efficiency to care which method you used.
Basically branch mining in concept involves digging one shaft and then digging 1x2 side shafts from both sides of that one every third block so that at least one face of every block in the two levels you are mining at is exposed to your view.
And now, reposted once again, my explanation of why branch mining on levels 11 and 12 (feet in 11 and eyes at 12.62) is the best way to mine...
Digging anywhere between layer 5 and layer 12 will yield identical results as is shown in this graph of where diamonds are actually located in the game...
Since the distribution of diamonds is very nearly identical the only thing that really matters is which layers are the easiest to mine.
On layers 1-10 the game fills all natural air spaces (caves) with lava by default, so anytime you dig below layer 11 you stand a much higher chance of running into the side of a lava pool. Dealing with lava flows is dangerous and time consuming and should be avoided where at all possible in order to achieve maximum productivity.
Many people think that more diamonds are generated near lava, this is not true, it only seems that way because when exploring lava caves diamonds are sometimes exposed on the surface of the cave. Here are two pictures, one shows where the lava is located while the other shows the diamonds in the same area. Do you see any clusters of diamonds bunching up near the lava?
Diamonds are distributed totally randomly throughout the entire map, the presence or absence of lava has no effect on their generation. (In fact lava actually replaces diamonds that might have been generated where the lava pool was formed.)
All of which leads us back to the question, where is the best and most labor efficient place to mine diamonds? The answer is quite obvious even though many players out of shear contrariness refuse to accept it as true. You should mine with your feet in layer 11 and your eyes at layer 12.62, you will achieve statistically identical results to what you would mining at any other level while staying at the surface level of the lava pools.
Mining at layer 11 & 12 allows you to simply use a water bucket to turn the surface layer of the lava to obsidian as you move forward and to explore the interior of the lava caves as they are revealed. Digging lower forces you to go around many lava pools and deal with lava flows released by accident while not returning any increase in diamonds found for your efforts.
Branch mining (It isn't called strip mining! Strip mining is when you "strip" away the surface of the world! Like what most people call quarries.) is the most efficient method as it reveals the most block surfaces for the least amount of blocks mined. There are several different methods favored by people for branch mining as to how to create your tunnel configuration but they all have one thing in common.
That being that for each two blocks mined you reveal the faces of six additional blocks, so digging parallel 1x2 tunnel branches two blocks apart from each other reveals the faces of all the blocks in your two layers along with many of those in the layers above and below you. There is only one other method of mining that will yield comparable results to branch mining when comparing the number of diamonds found per block mined and that is cave mining.
Finding caves that go down to the 11-15 layers and mining exposed diamonds does result in collecting a few diamonds that are already exposed on the surface without having to mine many blocks. However it is very hit or miss to locate them and not that many large caves are found that go all the way down to the lava level. Also keep in mind that while branch mining at 11-12 you will still find these same caves and can and should explore them thoroughly up to level 15 in case they have any exposed diamonds.
This question has been asked and answered repeatedly on this forum and even though the only factually correct answer is to branch mine on layers 11 and 12 many people have their own pet theories. The fact that these theories have no objective evidence to support them does not matter to them, they have concluded based on their own personal intuition that their method is superior.
It isn't, but you you will never convince them of this because of the one time they found diamonds twice in ten minutes while doing it their own way.
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