Block of the Week: Granite

Having a Gneiss Time

As a game where you spend a lot of time underground, it's not surprising that Minecraft has so many different kinds of rock. From stone and cobblestone, to sand, sandstone, clay and gravel, all the different ores, obsidian, bedrock and finally andesite, diorite and granite - you'll never be short of options when building your next fortress!

It's the very last and very pinkest of that list that we've chosen this week - Granite! Real-world granite is an igneous rock, meaning that it's formed when lava or magma cools down and solidifies - just like obsidian forms in Minecraft.

Unlike obsidian, however, granite forms very sloooooowly, and that sloooooow process means that crystals can grow inside. That structure also gives it its name, via the latin word "granum", meaning "grain". You can see for yourself if you or a friend have a granite countertop in your kitchen. Look closely, and you'll see shiny quartz crystals.

Granite was added to Minecraft in snapshot 14w02a, though Jeb teased it a little earlier on Twitter. It's easily found underground below y-level 80, given away by its distinctive pink colour, and you'll also regularly see it in extreme hills biomes. But if you're struggling to find some, and you've got a lot of diorite and quartz hanging around, then you can combine them in a crafting grid into granite. No diorite? Just make some with cobblestone and nether quartz in a 2x2 checkerboard pattern.

Better still, if you're building something more fancy then combine four granite blocks in a 2x2 square on a crafting grid to get polished granite - an even nicer-looking version of the rock. In the desktop version of the game, granite is purely decorative. But Pocket Edition players can use either granite or polished granite to make redstone comparators, repeaters or stone slabs.

You might be wondering why Minecraft granite is so pink (and we apologise for the countless hours of sleep you must have missed over that one). The answer lies in the different substances that go into it. Real-world granite comes in a bunch of different colours that include black, grey, white, yellow, red and - yes - pink. The pink variant appears when the rock has a lot of potassium in it.

So next time you need a pink castle in a hurry, call on granite. You'll get blast resistance as good as stone, a choice of natural and polished finishes, an easy supply from your quarry and the very pinkest of pinks to dazzle your friends with.