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Digging Deep into Geosciences with Minecraft

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>EOS, Transactions American Geophysical Union
Issue number11
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)24-29
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date29/10/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Imagine yourself in a world where everything is made up of cubes. Colorful blocks represent rocks, trees, water, and animals. An erupting volcano produces blocks of flowing lava. A cave contains cubes of iron and gold ore.
Sound familiar? This is the world of Minecraft, a hugely popular “open-world” construction-based video game in which players can move around freely and build virtual creations by “mining” and placing textured blocks with different properties. You can build elaborate cities and ships—even the Eiffel Tower or Tolkien’s Minas Morgul. You can also build a working computer that can perform calculations.
But what if you could build your own Earth features and explore the real-life science behind them?
This is what we do at Science Hunters, an outreach program at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.
In the blocky world of Minecraft, we task players with building dinosaurs, rockets, volcanoes, caves, and even whole planets. From seeds to space, they can explore and relate the processes they interact with in the game to the real world around them.