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This article is about the current version of DF.
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Volcano sprite preview.png

A volcano is a terrain feature created at world generation. Embarking to a volcano site is the easiest way to obtain magma, as a volcano has magma exposed to the surface rather than dozens or hundreds of z-levels below ground. The volcano will be consistently shaped all the way down to the bottom of the map.

Volcanoes do not explode, erupt, nor spew noxious fumes, however, the level of magma within can fluctuate. For now, volcanoes are simply very large, very hollow pillars of obsidian with magma inside. They count as subterranean lava for the purpose of spawning creatures, so magma natives like magma crabs and fire imps will freely roam through the volcano's interior, and may even leave the crater and roam the surface if they happen to path to it.

Volcanoes are one-embark-tile features, meaning that they can be surrounded by any biome. Volcanos on the world map will appear in different colors depending on if they are located in a good, neutral or evil biome. This also includes the factor of a volcano being in savage surroundings. On the Region embark map with ASCII mode enabled, they are represented as a red raised caret (or circumflex) (^), the same symbol as a weapon trap in-game. On the Local embark map they are represented as the "approximately equal to" symbol (), the same symbol that represents magma in-game. On a standard world map, there will generally be only a few volcanoes.

Volcanoes tend to appear in mountainous igneous extrusive biomes, which means you may be hard-pressed to find flux, coal or wood. You won't need it for fuel, but you will still need it for steel making. If you don't feel like searching hundreds of worlds for a volcano next to sedimentary stone or in a forest, your best bet may be to breach the first cavern for wood (or make tree farms underground once the caverns are opened up), or trade for wood, processed coke or charcoal. A way to use advanced world generation to mitigate this can be found here.


The top layer of a volcano.

Mining into a warm surface will result in your miner being overrun with the magma before completing the task. Digging a channel beside the warm rock then mining directly into it can safely open a magma flow for redirecting. Another way is to simply channel the warm rock from above.

A more complicated, but foolproof method is to tap the tube from one level below, while your miner is protected by an overhead bridge. First, channel a hole next to the place you want to breach the volcano, creating a hole and a ramp. Then, place a one tile magma-safe bridge over the ramp. Third, forbid the area the bridge is in -- blocking the area off with a forbidden door, or a contraction, depending on how your fortress works. Then mine the area out from the ramp below.

Any magma in a volcano that is drained will replenish itself over time. This can make tunneling into the lip of a volcano especially fun. The best way to control volcano magma is to pump it out.

If you really want a volcano next to a sedimentary layer, you can adjust advanced world generation parameters to maximize your chances: increase the minimum number of volcanoes, increase the X and Y variance of volcanism, and set the terrain mesh weights for volcanism to use only the lowest and highest ranges.

You can instantly discover the magma sea and adamantine if you simply cause a magma-safe cave-in somewhere above the lava. This can be accomplished by creating a floor, then creating a floor out from there with magma-safe material, like obsidian. Remove the supporting floor so the obsidian will drop into the magma, and it will never melt, allowing you to use it as a "scout" to find veins of adamantine and a magma sea.


Advantages of volcano embarks[edit]

  • Free, easily accessible magma
  • Easy, partial mapping of the magma sea and therefore of what is next to it, just drop something in the volcano
  • Ensures an igneous extrusive layer, and possible obsidian layers
  • Easy way to get rid of elves refuse, just dump it in. Magma mist may provide some fun though.
  • We must reiterate: magma

Disadvantages of volcano embarks[edit]

  • Slightly less minerals than in a normal embark, due to volcano size
  • You won't get a sedimentary layer unless you are very lucky, even with advanced worldgen volcanism tweaking
  • Sometimes your dwarves dodge INSIDE the volcano
  • Difficult access to rivers or streams
  • Sometimes exceedingly fun if the player is careless when digging.
  • Magma crabs
"Volcano" in other Languages Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg
Dwarven: stodir
Elvish: amoya
Goblin: uru
Human: amak
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