Block of the Week: Diorite

Rockin’ it

Which of Minecraft’s blocks is found all over the Overworld, looks a bit like a cross between cobblestone and quartz, and sounds like something you’d yell while hacking at a zombie invading your house? Conveniently enough, it’s our Block of the Week: Diorite!

The last member of a rocky trinity that also includes granite and andesite, diorite generates naturally in large seams anywhere that you’d normally find stone. You’ll regularly see it exposed to the surface, particularly in hilly or mountainous areas. Or you can craft it by combining cobblestone with nether quartz.

Diorite doesn’t have a whole lot of uses in Minecraft, except for decoration. There’s a nice polished variant which makes beautiful flooring, that you’ll get by putting four blocks of the raw stuff in a 2x2 crafting grid. You can also use it to make andesite and granite, and in Bedrock edition it can be used in place of stone to make slabs and redstone comparators.

As a building material, diorite is pretty great. It has the same blast resistance as stone, so Creepers and your sneaky multiplayer pals won’t do much damage to anything you construct out of it. Plus, it’s arguably the white-coloured material that’s easiest to get large quantities of, so if you want white as a colour in your next build then it’s a great option to look at.

As we discussed in the andesite block of the week, real-world diorite and andesite are kinda like rock brothers. They both form when magma cools down - but diorite is made when that happens inside the earth, while andesite is created when it flows out into the open air as lava.

Image credit: Michael C. Rygel // CC BY-SA 3.0

Diorite’s speckles are made of crystals of different minerals, depending on the composition of the magma that it formed from. It’s found in volcanic areas, and in places where tectonic plates are shoved upwards by another plate passing underneath - like the Andes in South America.

Diorite is actually much rarer in the real world than it is in Minecraft. It’s also extremely hard, making it tough to carve - so it’s mostly used for decorative purposes. One famous diorite artifact is the Code of Hammurabi - a list of laws from ancient Babylon, inscribed on a two-meter tall chunk of diorite. The rock’s hardness means that the text is unusually well-preserved, and it’s one of the oldest fully-translated pieces of writing that we’ve found - dating back to about 1750 BC.

So next time you need something to write your server rules on, take a leaf out of Hammurabi’s book and consider a big pillar made of diorite. You never know, it might get dug up by future Minecraft archaeologists in the distant future, who’ll wonder why leaving a tree half-cut down was considered punishable by death.

Written by
Duncan Geere
Published
04/13/2018

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