Glasgow Minecraft model

In January 2013, BGS made the central Glasgow model and released it to a network of interested people called the ASK (Accessing Subsurface Knowledge) network. The model gives other agencies, such as engineers and construction companies, a broad idea of the geology underneath Glasgow, which helps them get an idea of what lies under the ground and plan for any problems they may come across. The Glasgow Minecraft model has been based on this.

The geology in the model is in two parts. The first, lower part is called the "bedrock geology" (this is the hard rock, not what Minecraft calls Bedrock) and these rocks date from the Carboniferous Period, including the upper Coal Measures. The second part is the shallower rocks and soils directly underneath Glasgow, called "superficial geology". We have also included artificial deposits in the model.

The model was built within BGS's GOCAD® and GSI3D software using a digital elevation model of 20 m cell resolution and is based on datasets held by BGS, such as boreholes and BGS Geology.

Superficial deposits

The superficial deposits in the Minecraft world are mostly glacial tills, reflecting the advances and retreats of ice sheets. The tills often rest directly on bedrock geology and comprise a mixture of clay, sand and silt with pebbles, cobbles and boulders. Other types of superficial deposits in the area are related to several marine inundations (raising and lowering of the sea level) during and since the last glaciation, the development of river terraces, the deposition of estuary sediments, and local lakes, some infilled partly by peat.

Bedrock geology

The bedrock geology in the Minecraft world dates back to the Carboniferous Period. The majority of the rocks were deposited in an environment such as a river delta or a shallow sea and consist of sandstone, coal and limestone. The rocks were identified using borehole material and descriptions from borehole drill wells and using things found in the rock, such as fossils and minerals, to give the rocks an age.

Glasgow model with geology and topography.
Glasgow model with geology.

Site location

This model covers 100 km2 of terrain in the centre of Glasgow. The area shows the superficial deposits of the central Glasgow area, including glaciated material from successive ice sheets.

Site location map
Site location map with geology map overlaid


When you first land in the world there will be signposts with information to get you started.

Once you've got your bearings you can fly around the 3D model by double-tapping then holding the space bar, which will cause you to fly up into the air.

Geology key

The geological units for each model have been grouped together in order to accommodate the limited Minecraft glass block palette of 16 colours. Where possible we have tried to emulate the BGS geological unit colours.

Geology Minecraft Block
Head, Peat, lake deposits, Strathkelvin Clay and Silt Member and lenses of peat Brown stained glass Brown stained glass
Bridgeton Sand Member Orange stained glass Orange stained glass
Ross Sand Member Pink stained glass Pink stained glass
Cadder Sand and Gravel Formation Purple stained glass Purple stained glass
Law Sand and Gravel Member, Gourock Sand Member, Linwood Clay Member and Broomhill Clay Formation Yellow stained glass Yellow stained glass
Artificial ground Grey stained glass Grey stained glass
Broomhouse Sand and Gravel Formation Grey stained glass Magenta stained glass
Paisley Clay Member Lime stained glass block Lime stained glass
Wilderness Till Formation Blue stained glass Blue stained glass
Bellshill Clay Member Green stained glass Green stained glass
Killearn Sand and Gravel Member Red stained glass Red stained glass
Baillieston Till Formation Light blue stained glass Light blue stained glass