Blocks are what make up your Minecraft world, and, boy, there sure are a lot of them. Not sure which blocks are worth your time to mine, and which can be left alone? Check out our handy list of naturally occurring blocks to help you understand what each block is, and what it can do for you.
Coal ore: Coal ore, when mined, turns into coal. It is one of the most important resources in the world, and can be found pretty much anywhere. Mine with a pickaxe to receive coal.
Iron ore: Iron ore blocks, when smelted, turn into iron ingots. Use a stone, iron, or diamond pickaxe to mine iron. It can be found anywhere between bedrock and sea level, which is 64 blocks above bedrock.
Gold ore: Gold ore blocks, when smelted, turn into gold ingots. Use an iron or diamond pickaxe to mine gold. It can be found anywhere in the 32 layers above bedrock.
Diamond ore: Diamond ore is one of the most important blocks in the game. It is relatively rare, appearing only in the 17 layers above bedrock. Use an iron or diamond pickaxe to mine diamond ore.
Lapis lazuli ore: Lapis lazuli is found in the 33 layers above bedrock. It is primarily used to create dyes for decoration.
Redstone ore: Redstone ore blocks, when mined, drop several Redstone dust. This is used in Redstone contraptions, and can be quite valuable in late-game scenarios. Redstone is found in the 16 layers above bedrock.
Emerald ore: Emerald ore is incredibly rare, and can only be found in the 32 layers above bedrock. Mine with an iron or diamond pickaxe to receive the emerald ore block itself, or mine with something else to get emerald.
Bedrock: What all else is built on, bedrock is found deep below the surface of your world. It cannot be broken with any tools. Bedrock also makes up the foundation and ceiling of the Nether.
Obsidian: Obsidian is used to create Nether portals and enchantment tables. It can only be mined with a diamond pickaxe. Obsidian is created when lava touches water.
Dirt: Probably the most common block in the game, dirt makes up most of the upper layer of your world. Use tilled dirt to plant farms!
Grass: Grass blocks make up most of the very top layer of your world. They grow long grass, which is used for acquiring seeds, and will spawn NPC animals.
Podzol: A variation of the grass block found in taiga forests.
Mycelium: A variation of the grass block found in mushroom biomes.
Sand: Sand is what makes up desert biomes, and is affected by gravity — if you mine the block beneath sand, it will fall.
Red sand: Red sand has the exact same properties as sand, except it is a different color.
Sandstone: Sandstone is generally found beneath the sand blocks in desert biomes. It is not affected by gravity.
Chiseled sandstone: A variation of sandstone that can be found in desert temples.
Smooth sandstone: A variation of sandstone that can be found in both NPC villages and desert temples.
Gravel: Gravel is another block that is affected by gravity. If you mine the block beneath gravel, it will fall. Gravel can be found pretty much anywhere in the world, and is often near water.
Stone: Stone is found pretty much everywhere in the world. It's what you have to mine through to find the good stuff, like iron and diamonds. When mined, stone turns into cobblestone.
Stone bricks: In the wild, stone bricks are found making up the walls and foundation of strongholds.
Mossy stone bricks: A variation of stone bricks, they can also be found in strongholds.
Cracked stone bricks: A variation of stone bricks, they can also be found in strongholds.
Chiseled stone bricks: A variation of stone bricks, they can be found in jungle temples.
Cobblestone: Cobblestone is found in NPC villages, subterranean dungeons, strongholds, and jungle temples. It is also created when you mine stone. It can be turned back into stone, whether for crafting or esthetic, by smelting it in a furnace.
Moss stone: Moss stone is generally found making up the walls of a subterranean dungeon. Mine it with a pickaxe to collect it — if you mine with another tool, it will disappear.
Granite: Granite is a variation of stone — it is found pretty much anywhere in the world. It is used primarily as decoration. Mine it with a pickaxe or it will disappear.
Diorite: Diorite is a variation of stone — it is found pretty much anywhere in the world, and is used primarily as decoration. Mine it with a pickaxe or it will disappear.
Andesite: Andesite is a variation of stone — it is found pretty much anywhere in the world, and is used primarily as decoration. Mine it with a pickaxe or it will disappear.
Clay block: When mined, a clay block will give you clay. Clay blocks can only be found beneath water.
Oak wood: Oak wood is obtained by chopping Oak trees. Wood is one of the first blocks you'll obtain in the game.
Spruce wood: Spruce wood can be used the same way as all other raw wood.
Birch wood: Birch wood can be used the same way as all other raw wood.
Jungle wood: Jungle wood can be used the same way as all other raw wood.
Acacia wood: Acacia wood can be used the same way as all other raw wood.
Dark oak wood: Dark oak wood can be used the same way as all other raw wood.
Nether quartz ore: Nether quartz ore is found in the Nether and can be likened to iron in the Overworld. When smelted in a furnace, it produces Nether quartz.
Glowstone: Found only in the Nether, glowstone should be mined with a pickaxe. It will drop glowstone dust. Use the glowstone dust to recraft glowstone blocks.
Soul sand: Found only in the Nether, soul sand can be mined with anything. When you or an NPC player (including enemies!) walk over it, it will slow you down. It is also used for growing Nether wart.
Netherrack: Netherrack is what makes up most of the Nether. It can only be mined with a pickaxe. When set on fire, it will burn forever unless you extinguish it.
Nether brick: Nether brick can be found making up the walls and foundation of Nether fortresses. Mine it with a pickaxe, or it will disappear.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Cale Hunt is formerly a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full-time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.