From Minecraft Wiki
Chart lining up Y-coordinate values (left) to block layers (right) (Not to scale).

Altitude is a measurement of vertical distance, or distance along the Y-axis.


Altitude is defined as "the height of anything above a given planetary reference plane, especially above sea level on earth."[1]

In Minecraft, altitude is commonly expressed as the number of block layers above the bottom of the game environment, which is layer zero (0). For instance, sea level is recognized as block layer 62, and clouds appear at layer 127.

Altitude may also be expressed as the bottom face of the block layer, the bottom most of which is at Y-coordinate 0, or Y=0. Sea level would appear at Y=63, and cloud level would appear at Y=128. The player can press F3 to see the Y-coordinate of the top face of the block on which they are standing.

Features and effects by height

Largest height Minecraft can distinguish from infinity.[2]
Above this height, players cannot move except using NBT editors.
Maximum height reachable by flying.
Maximum height reachable by /teleport or /tp.
Top face of the highest block that can be placed.
Upper limit of Coal Ore generation.
Full bedrock layer in the Nether.
Partial bedrock layers in the Nether.
Upper limit of Gold Ore generation in Badlands and variants.
Upper limit of Slime spawn in Swamps.
Upper limit of Iron Ore generation.
Sea level. Players must be above this level for phantoms to spawn.
Lower limit of Slime spawn in Swamps outside "slime chunks".
Upper limit of Slime spawn in non-Swamp biomes in "slime chunks".
Upper limit of Lapis Lazuli Ore, Emerald Ore and (in non-Badlands biomes) Gold Ore generation.
Upper limit of Redstone Ore and Diamond Ore generation.
Partial bedrock layers in Overworld.
Partial bedrock layers in the Nether.
Full bedrock layer in the Overworld and Nether.
Top of the Void; bottom face of the lowest block that can be placed. Liquids stop flowing when they reach this point.
Players below this height take void damage ( per ½ second) even if in Creative mode. This damage can't be prevented or mitigated, but commands can provide enough regeneration to survive it. Non-player entities falling below this height despawn instantly.
Players below this height are kicked with an "invalid move player packet received" error. This can be fixed through external programs.

Limits in non-Java editions

The top of the game environment is layer 255, and the top face of the highest block that can be placed is at Y=256. In the New Nintendo 3DS Edition, the top is instead at Y=128.[3]

File:Height Limit.png
Image showing building limit

The highest achievable height in Legacy Console Edition is Y=511 due to an invisible wall in the Overworld and the Nether. In the End, however, this limit is infinite. The height limit for building blocks is Y=256, similar to Java Edition. The height minimum is Y=2, as the player cannot break the last bedrock layer, even in Creative mode.

In Bedrock Edition, the player dies instantly if they fall below Y=-2, unless in Creative mode. In creative mode, the player can fall only into Y=-40. The height limit for building blocks is Y=256.

Natural resources and altitude

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Features in the landscape of the Overworld are found at different altitudes, as shown in the graph below. There is also an interactive chart.

File:Block layers overworld 1.5.svg

Note that these charts utilize the logarithmic scale, which means a slight difference in the Y-coordinate represents a large change in the relative frequency of a block type.

Some observations:

  • Looking at water, the amount at layer 62 (sea level) is obvious. Moving down, the amount quickly decreases at layers 56 and 48, the usual depth of river and ocean biomes, respectively.
    • There are corresponding peaks in the amount of clay beneath them.
  • Between layers 33 and 12, most water is falling down sub-ocean ravines, spreading out on the lava-filled bottom at layer 10 and producing most of the naturally-occurring obsidian.
  • Ores and gravel (not shown) usually occur as a fixed percentage of the amount of stone (also not shown), tapering off at the ends of their allowed generation range.
    • This is why coal and iron follow parallel tracks between layers 5 and 60.
    • The one exception is lapis lazuli ore, which has a linear progression up to a peak at layers 13-14.

See the following table for a textual description of resources by altitude and tools needed to gather them.

Landscape feature Complete layer range[note 1] Most common layers[note 2] Tool needed to obtain
Coal Ore 0-126 5-66 Wooden Pickaxe or better
Gravel 1-126 5-56 Not required

but faster with any shovel

Grass Block
0-126 5-80 Not required

but faster with any shovel

(Grass Blocks, Podzol and Mycelium drop

dirt when broken unless mined with

a Silk Touch enchanted shovel)

Sand 2-112 43-63 Not required

but faster with any shovel

Water 1-111 48-62 Bucket
Iron Ore 1-63 2-58 Stone Pickaxe or better
Gold Ore 1-31 4-29 Iron Pickaxe or better
Lapis Lazuli Ore 1-30 11-17 Stone Pickaxe or better
Lava 1-85 4-10 Bucket
Emerald Ore 4-32 4-29 Iron Pickaxe or better
Diamond Ore 1-16 4-13 Iron Pickaxe or better
Redstone Ore[note 3] 1-15 4-13 Iron Pickaxe or better
Bedrock 0-4 0-2 Only breakable in Creative mode


Other naturally occurring features appear at different altitudes, but all of these features are random and appear only in conjunction with another block and the proper environment.

Landscape feature Requires
Grass Dirt/grass block and light
Sugar Cane Dirt/grass block/sand and water
Log Dirt/grass block and light
Cactus Sand/red sand in desert and badlands
Flowers Dirt/grass block and light
Mushrooms Dry land and darkness
Clay Sand and near water
Obsidian Lava source and water
Cobblestone Lava and water
Seagrass Water
Pumpkin Grass block
Kelp Water in ocean
Dead Bush Sand/red sand/terracotta/podzol in desert, badlands, and giant tree taiga
Magma Block Lava and water in ocean.

The Nether

A similar graph, showing the distribution of blocks unique to the Nether:

File:Block layers nether 1.5.svg

Landscape feature Complete layer range Most common layers Implement needed to obtain
Netherrack Layers 1-126 Layers 4-123 Wooden pickaxe or better
Soul sand Layers 14-81 Layers 58-64 None
Glowstone Layers 2-120 Layers 98-106 None
Nether bricks Layers 19-86 Layers 48-66 Wooden pickaxe or better
Magma block Layers ? Layers ? Wooden pickaxe or better
Lava Layers ? Layers ? Bucket
Gravel Layers ? Layers ? Not required but faster with shovel
Nether quartz ore Layers 7-117 Layers 9-115 Wooden pickaxe or better



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See also


  1. Unabridged, "altitude", accessed April 10, 2016
  2. Template:Bug – "Player unable to turn when at Y: Infinity" resolved as "Won't Fix"
  3. Template:Article
  4. Template:Bug


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