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Building UnderWater

Construction View

Owner getplayerhead.sh?guyed&16.png guyed
Contributors Diggers
getplayerhead.sh?AJStratton&16.png AJStratton, getplayerhead.sh?andreydio&16.png andreydio, getplayerhead.sh?Bigred999&16.png Bigred999, getplayerhead.sh?brandonc543&16.png brandonc543, getplayerhead.sh?Blobehh&16.png Blobehh, getplayerhead.sh?Box_of_cake&16.png Box_of_cake, getplayerhead.sh?brickstack&16.png brickstack, getplayerhead.sh?Drathus42&16.png Drathus42, getplayerhead.sh?Drex101&16.png Drex101, getplayerhead.sh?Ellen124&16.png Ellen124, getplayerhead.sh?FlyingJellyfish&16.png FlyingJellyfish, getplayerhead.sh?fmxstick&16.png fmxstick, getplayerhead.sh?gazzo85&16.png gazzo85, getplayerhead.sh?G_Gus&16.png G_Gus, getplayerhead.sh?healthyuncle&16.png healthyuncle, getplayerhead.sh?jesusbsanchez&16.png jesusbsanchez, getplayerhead.sh?jimmyd93&16.png jimmyd93, getplayerhead.sh?Jordan_Larson&16.png Jordan_Larson, getplayerhead.sh?Kestrel150&16.png Kestrel150, getplayerhead.sh?KingOfCheeseLand&16.png KingOfCheeseLand, getplayerhead.sh?Machines_Are_Us&16.png Machines_Are_Us, getplayerhead.sh?Mars835&16.png Mars835, getplayerhead.sh?Matt314&16.png Matt314, getplayerhead.sh?minecraftfc&16.png minecraftfc, getplayerhead.sh?okoshima&16.png okoshima, getplayerhead.sh?Raggus&16.png Raggus, getplayerhead.sh?simdwhickman&16.png simdwhickman, getplayerhead.sh?stromhurst&16.png stromhurst, getplayerhead.sh?tribelwarrior&16.png tribelwarrior, getplayerhead.sh?Thonykidd&16.png Thonykidd, getplayerhead.sh?werdnaz&16.png werdnaz, getplayerhead.sh?xanderstrike&16.png xanderstrike
getplayerhead.sh?Blobehh&16.png Blobehh, getplayerhead.sh?Drathus42&16.png Drathus42, getplayerhead.sh?Matt314&16.png Matt314, getplayerhead.sh?xanderstrike&16.png xanderstrike
Category Complexes
Underground? Yes (underwater)
Public? Yes
Started June 2011
Size north to south 120m
Size west to east 120m
Height ~55m
Coordinates X=-200
Dimension Overworld
Nearest warp Glenfiddich
Map link
rough sketch
11th June
on site materials processing


The idea

A giant undersea glass dome isn't an especially original idea, however the project is partly to show that these things can be made by hand to people who would assume otherwise, so the whole process will have screenshots of each stage as it's built. There's also fun to be had in the construction process (getting people to join in, fixing problems etc). Building structures in water can be surprisingly challenging, as there are many problems and issues that you wouldn't find in construction of a land structure.

The undersea glass dome will have forests and grass and be 120 block diameter. Similar Projects include UnderWorld, which is the roughly same size but a hollowed out cavern, and Tayrons BioDomes, which are above ground. The live map was used to find an unpopulated area nearby with water that would be suitable to build UnderWater.


Building underwater needs some special techniques (the area has to be drained first, then build the dome, then flood the area again and remove the boundary walls from inside the dome). The size of the dome means a sand source nearby is important when picking a location so that we have enough sand to make the glass required for the dome.

Using the Minecraft Structure Planner it's possible to calculate the materials needed for the dome in advance and without planning the curves required on a dome this size might lead to very expensive mistakes in terms of otherwise having to break glass to fix the issues.

In practise

A 80x80 square perimeter was first marked out and then the area was levelled. To assist in this players were paid in saved up game items for assistance, for instance to remove all trees from a small island that was in the build perimeter and to help dig.

As the dig site got deeper it was connected to a nearby rail system, a grass ladder was used to send grass to bedrock level and an area was built to store and smelt sand for the glass required for the dome.

The nearby coastlines were planted up with saplings in case more more wood was needed later for smelting. Excess iron and lava found when digging was stored to power furnaces as buckets of lava for smelting the sand.

The creator used up some valuable items to hire more players to make the digging task less laborious and prevent burnout. The final stable pay rate was/is roughly one block of diamond or lapis for a 5x4 hole to bedrock. Assistance was provided to the diggers in the form of shovels, pickaxes, food and similar as required/available. The assistants were allowed to keep any minerals they encountered whilst digging their shafts.

The glass dome is a 123 width 123 depth glass dome with 56 height, blueprint created via Minecraft Structure Planner.

Construction Work Todo

  • Finish marking circle perimeter (377 wool, roughly 6 stacks)
  • Fill water areas within the circle with gravel/sand finished ~16th June
  • Gather sand needed to make glass dome (8/8 done) finished 18th June
  • Process sand into glass (8/8 chests made) finished 18th June
  • Dig out and hire players to help dig out the enclosed area
    • Hiring players
      • original fortune of 22 diamond blocks, 34 Lapis blocks, 26 stacks of mossy cobble, iron, 10 stacks of bricks
      • remaining 0 diamond block, 0 lapis, 0 stacks of mossy cobble, 0 bricks
    • completion based on layers removed (layer 63 is water level, layer 5 is bedrock) 100% done (completed: 58/58)
    • completion based on holes to bedrock 100% done (11,309 /11,309)
    • Completed 25th / 26th August at midnight
  • Make outer wall 100% gravel so that it can be removed from the bottom when needed 100% done (377/377)
  • Construct glass dome 14% done (layer 7/50 complete)
  • gather soil to cover top (11,309 blocks is roughly 176 stacks of soil = 3.5 double chests)
  • cover over hole with soil, 1 block below water
  • place water over soil (0/11,309 complete)
  • destroy all soil to make the water fall down (0/11,309 complete)
  • remove gravel/sand perimeter walls from below (0/377 complete)
  • Finish soil in dome (0/11,309 laid)
  • Finish railway around dome
  • Finish dome detailing
  • have a cup of tea

Railway Connection

Connecting tunnel

The western railway project came past the site during construction so in order to link to this on 18th-19th June a connecting tunnel was made that would take a trail from directly under the train pylon to the undersea dome. The construction process is shown in the sequence of pictures here.


A tower to house the station and connect the tunnel to the overhead railway was started on the 26th June, made from glass and cobble.

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