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Group of Penn Geologists Discover Massive Underground Cave System in Minecraft


Photo by Mike Prosser / CC BY-SA 2.0 

"I'd never seen such a big cave system in my life," Penn graduate student Daniel Jule told us. "It's going to take a long time to figure out exactly how big it is, but we could instantly see how much water, resources, and life is down here. We're gonna need a lot of torches to illuminate this whole place."

Penn graduate student Daniel Jule had long hoped to find a gigantic underground cave system with the rest of his research group, but hadn't expected to stumble into it alone at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. 

Jule is a masters student in the Department of Earth & Environmental Science. He and his geology research group play Minecraft together most nights, but always log off by 1 a.m. so they can be rested and productive the next day. 

"I kept playing because I had a feeling that I was going to find something great," Jule said, "and I did." 

Jule's group is as excited about his find as he is. "We made the server so we could all share in the successes and stay strong when the going got tough," explained Katie DeNato. "We were together when we all had dirt houses. Now we'll work together to explore the cave, gather the diamonds, and fight the creepers."

The group's biggest concerns are griefers, hackers, and creepers. But so far, so good. Does Jule have any advice for amateur miners who want to make a huge discovery like he did? "You can't mine diamonds with anything less than an iron pickaxe. If you break diamond ore with a wooden pickaxe, nothing drops."

"Oh, and don't mine straight down. You don't need to be a geologist to know that's how you fall into lava."