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Some lava in a cave.

Lava is a glowing red/orange liquid found deep in the Cavern layer and in The Underworld, appearing instead of Water at depths below 1,500 feet (750 tiles) in a small world, 2,300 feet (1,150 tiles) in a medium world, and 3,350 feet (1,675 tiles) in a large world. Contact with Lava deals 80 damage per hit on players and 50 damage per hit on enemies, and inflicts the On Fire! debuff on both. Lava also slows movement the way Water does. The Obsidian Skin Potion makes players immune to Lava damage, and the Lava Charm will allow players to be safely submerged in lava for 7 seconds.

Lava flows downwards and horizontally, settling and taking the shape of any block formations below and beside it, the way Water does; however, Lava is more viscous than Water, flowing more slowly. It also emits a medium amount of flickering light. Lava can be moved by the player via a bucket or pump. After flowing 50 blocks in a direction, lava will begin to evaporate, causing the source to be lost.

Most dropped items of a Rarity lower than blue (which includes all Coins) will be destroyed when submerged in Lava past their vertical midpoint. Blocks cannot be placed directly within Lava, but falling blocks like Silt and Sand can fall into it, resulting in placement at its bottom, and these can be stacked until reaching the Lava's surface to form a safe bridge over it. Silt and Sand blocks placed this way will revert back to Lava if mined away. However, one can use this method and log out. Upon logging back in, most of the lava will be gone.

Hellstone produces half a block's volume of Lava when mined in the Underworld (a full block's volume in Expert mode). Lava Slimes create a small amount of lava when slain in Expert mode.

Crafting[edit | edit source]

An example of lava (together with water and honey) placed to be used as a crafting station. Notice the Crystal Ball above them.

Like water and honey, lava can be used as a minor crafting station. It works just like those two; in order to use it the player only has to stand nearby. Creation of items from a body of lava does not lower the lava level at all.

Used to craft[edit | edit source]

Crystal BallCrystal Ball and LavaLava
Lavafall BlockLavafall BlockDesktop VersionConsole VersionOld-gen console versionMobile Version
Magic Lava DropperMagic Lava DropperDesktop VersionConsole VersionMobile Version
total: 2 row(s)

Lava can also be used to make the following items, though not as a crafting station:

Item When combined with
ObsidianObsidian WaterWater
Crispy Honey BlockCrispy Honey Block HoneyHoney

Fishing[edit | edit source]

Fishing in lava requires the Hotline Fishing Hook.

Catches from Lava
Flarefin KoiFlarefin Koi Used in Inferno PotionInferno Potion.
ObsidifishObsidifish Used in Inferno PotionInferno Potion.
Obsidian SwordfishObsidian Swordfish

Notes[edit | edit source]

By default, players are dealt 80 damage and set on fire by lava.
  • There are many ways to reduce or eliminate the damage from lava:
    • Under effect of Obsidian Skin Potion you can stay in Lava as long as you have the buff. Unlike Water or Honey, players cannot drown in lava.
    • Defense from armor and other sources reduces lava damage like any other sort.
    • The Obsidian Rose reduces Lava's basic damage from 80 to 50. Combined with Hardmode heavy armor and other defense items, this can reduce lava to a minor annoyance, or even a potential source of invincibility frames to avoid damage from enemies and bosses.
    • A Lava Charm can be used to stand in Lava for up to 7 seconds without getting hurt. Also can be used in combination with the Lava Waders to allow up to 14 seconds without getting hurt.
    • Lava Waders - Allows you to walk on Lava and provides 7 seconds of immunity to it (triggered when you would normally take damage to the lava). The immunity acts like breathing (shows its own bar), but unlike breathing takes much longer to refill after exiting the lava. Note: when walking on lava, the surface must be completely settled. Changing the level of the lava (e.g., by digging below it) will cause the player to fall in, and the lava will take some time to settle again.
    • Some Accessories intended for Water use will also aid Lava operations, which normally comes into play when an Obsidian Skin Potion is used (as no Accessory prevents Lava damage on its own permanently).
  • Contact with Lava dislodges many placed furniture items, and also dislodges Wood Platforms.
  • Flying monsters rarely enter Lava, but walking enemies will walk into it.

Tips[edit | edit source]

A few basic techniques go a long way:

A shallow lava pit underneath a structure will kill all walking enemies as they attempt to jump towards you while you're in your house, and if shallow enough, will gather their drops in one location for easy collection later. You can also use this technique to upgrade regular pits. Standing underneath the pit will lure most enemies toward you, with even some flying enemies diving into the lava.

Lava Depth[edit | edit source]

Lava will destroy any item of Gray or White Rarity including Coins, if it is deep enough for the item to sink past its midpoint. (That is, items with larger sprites can survive deeper lava.) This allows making pits with lava just deep enough to burn copper coins, but (almost) nothing else:

  • If too many items (over 400) accumulate in the world, the oldest ones will despawn.
  • Copper coins are among the least valuable objects in the game, but each stack of them still counts as an item. An event or enemy farm can produce huge numbers of copper coins, so it's worth discarding them, against the risk of despawning more valuable items. Fortunately they are also among the smallest items in the game (with a sprite only 12 pixels high).
    • A notable exception: The far more valuable Lihzahrd Power Cell also has a 12 pixel high sprite, and will be destroyed with the copper coins.
    • Other notable heights: Silver coins and gel share a 14-pixel height, while block items are 16 pixels tall.
  • To check if a lava moat has the exact depth required, a player can throw in one copper coin, then one silver coin. The copper coin should burn, but the slightly taller silver coin should not.
  • In practice, this lava depth can be achieved with 1 Bucket of lava for each 6 to 8 tiles of pit length.
    • Thus a moat that is 6-8 blocks wide, should have one bucket thrown in, while a moat of 12-16 should have 2.
    • This implies avoiding lengths where this range can't be achieved: 1-5, 9-11, 17. A moat 18 or more tiles long can always be filled to proper depth.
    • When filling a very large moat, it is best to drop individual lava buckets over the width of the moat, and not throw it on the same spot, due to unreliable liquid physics.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In the real world, lava is molten rock, but the term is usually applied only when it is expelled above ground as the result of a volcanic eruption. Lava, as found underground in Terraria, would typically be termed magma instead.
  • If you stand in lava too long, the death message says magma instead of lava.
  • The death message “Player tried to swim in lava” is most likely a reference to the exact same death message in Minecraft.

History[edit | edit source]

  • Desktop 1.3.4: Lava is dynamic and has a setting to be more or less dynamic.
  • Desktop 1.2.3:
    • Lava makes a bubbling noise when nearby.
    • Now functions as a crafting station.
    • Touching lava while in water will now properly put the fire buff out when you leave lava.
  • Desktop 1.2: When lava touches a half block, it will create a lavafall. Lava also no longer activates the breath meter.
Lava behind Silt Blocks.
  • Desktop 1.1: Now exists as a secondary 'layer' behind the placed blocks. Therefore can no longer be removed by dropping sand-like block in it. "Blocked" liquids now disappear only after restart of world.
  • Desktop 1.0.6:
    • The Lava's emitted light was reduced.
    • Now spawned when mining Hellstone.
    • Shallow lava can again hurt players and monsters.
    • Blocks can no longer be placed in lava.
    • Now causes the On Fire! Debuff.
  • Desktop 1.0.5:
    • Lava will remove Grass (including Jungle Grass, Mushroom Grass, and Corruption) from dirt and mud blocks.
    • No longer destroys items with a blue rarity or higher.
    • Very shallow lava won't hurt players or monsters anymore.