Dishing Out Dirt

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
You should see how much time he spends vacuuming his apartment...

"The key to Earthbending is your stance - you've gotta be steady and strong. Rock is a stubborn element. If you're going to move it, you've gotta be like a rock yourself."

A character with the power over earth. They may be able to cause earthquakes, use sand as an extension of their body, or some other related application. Due to Personality Powers, this character tends to be down to earth, rock solid, and slow to act but with a lot of momentum once they finally get rolling. If the character's powers are more sand/mud based, expect him to be a Shape Shifter.

If the Five-Man Band has elemental powers, The Big Guy will usually have this.

One of the Elemental Powers. This may blend some with Fire when magma is involved. Combining it with Wind creates a nasty sandstorm, while mixing with water often involves some sort of mud or clay creature. Also blends with Green Thumb or other "life"-related abilites, or Extra Ore Dinary for metal-related powers; after all, metal is just refined minerals. A character who can turn into dirt is an Elemental Shapeshifter.

Not to be confused with dishing out metaphorical dirt, fighting dirty, or throwing dirt into an opponent's eyes.

Examples of Dishing Out Dirt include:

Anime and Manga

  • Naruto: Earth is one of the basic Elemental Powers which any ninja can potentially use, including Deidara (moving sculptures made of explosive clay); Yamato (which he combines with water to let him control wood); Kakuzu (who can turn his skin hard as rock for defense); the Tsuchikage (not surprising, given that he's the Kage of the Hidden Rock Village), due to Superpowerful Genetics, can combine it with Wind and Fire to make Dust, which he uses to atomize people; and Akatsuchi (controls a stone golem).
    • There's also Gaara, who controls sand. However, Gaara's sand power is somewhat unique, as it's power obtained from being the host of the One-Tailed Beast and does not seem to be categorized as an "Earth Release" technique.
  • Kaze no Stigma: Earth mages can detect anyone on the ground, cause spikes to shoot up from the ground, and so forth. They cannot, however, control things like magma. One fire mage protects himself from his opponent's earth spikes by melting the sand around and under him.
  • Sol from Fairy Tail has powers over sand and earth as a member of the Elemental Four.
    • Later, we meet Jura "Iron Rock", who specialize in earth magic and can make extremely hard stone barriers and spikes. Also, the Oracion Seis wizard Hoteye can use his magic to turn even stone into mud and manipulate it.
  • Fate Averruncus of Mahou Sensei Negima uses stone-based techniques, from launching spears of stone at people to turning people to stone to crushing people with huge monoliths of stone from on high. Good with water techniques and rewriting existences, too.
    • Later revealed to also be good at using sand. He is "Averruncus of Earth", after all...
    • Fate also has a few spells that dip into Extra Ore Dinary, usually by creating and manipulating steel blades.
  • Genbu of Yu Yu Hakusho, a rock demon that can split itself into many stones to launch at foes and travel through rock.
    • Also from Yu Yu Hakusho, Risho is the shinobi "Master of Earth" and can do such things as coating himself in rock-armor.
  • Air Gear has Kilik and Sora's twin brother, Nike.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid introduces Corona, who has the ability to animate rock and soil and use them to construct a Golem out from the ground in an instant.
  • Sekio of Flame of Recca, a man who uses the Madogu Sekichu, allowing him the power to control stones.
    • Subverted with main character, Ishijima Domon. He is said to represent the Earth element. However, he doesn't use earth elemental attacks, but focuses more on physical strength.
  • The Earthy card from Cardcaptor Sakura.
  • Team Pet Iggy from Part 3 of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure had the ability to control sand with his stand, The Fool.
  • Sir Crocodile of One Piece is a villain who combines his powers over sand with the Touch of Death, allowing him to drain all the moisture out of whatever he comes into contact with. Oh, and subverting the normal personality that most earth-controllers have, he's a cold, ruthless Chessmaster.
    • Also, Admiral Akainu is the magma variant.
    • Jozu, Whitebeard's third Divison commander, has Diamond powers.
    • Cariboo seems to have control of Mud.
    • Whitebeard himself and, later, Blackbeard have power over earthquakes.
  • Nagareyama Shimon in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de has earth-based powers.
  • Subverted due to a translation error in Digimon Adventure with WarGreymon's attack. One magazine (released before WarGreymon appeared in the dub) stated that the attack "Terra Force" caused earthquakes. (It turned out to be more of a Combined Energy Attack.) It probably should have been translated Tera Force ("tera" being the metric shorthand for trillion), seeing as MetalGreymon's attack was Giga Blaster ("giga" meaning billion), and this was just turned Up to Eleven. On the other hand, the attack's Japanese name was Gaia Force, "gaia" also referring to Earth...
  • Sherry Cromwell of A Certain Magical Index uses earth-based magic and uses it to summon her golem, and Terra of the Left of God's Right Seat wields the element of earth, notably when he uses his Absurdly Sharp Blade made of flour.
  • Earth mages in The Familiar of Zero.
  • In Saint Beast, Gai can manipulate earth usually leading to the ground breaking underneath enemies, showers of rock, or even creating massive pillars from the ground.

Comic Books

  • The Thing from The Fantastic Four...kind of...but not really. He's made of rock but he doesn't have any sort of earth manipulation powers.
    • Another example from the same series: Galactus has given all his messengers powers related to one of the elements. Terrax, the too-evil one, is the earth-mover. It's worth noting that he is a mutant who already had the powers to begin with; Big G just made them stronger.
  • Clayface (especially Basil Karlo after his mutation) from Batman.
  • Teen Titans: Terra
    • Also, Atlee, the new Terra and recurring character in Power Girl.
  • Sandman from Spider-Man, pictured above, has the ability to change his body into sand.
  • X-Men: a whole slew of mutants have earth-related powers. Avalanche and Rictor have (or, in Rictor's case, had) seismic powers. Magma can control/transform into magma and rocks. Dust can turn herself into a sandstorm. Rockslide is a big guy made of rocks who can control his separated body parts. Onyxx is just a big guy made of rocks.
    • Rictor's a bit of a subversion, as he's very stubborn and hotheaded.
  • Elysion, a minor Legion of Super-Heroes villain.
  • The Old Power in Incredible Hulk: an ability to draw power from the Earth which grants improved physical abilities and the ability to manipulate Rocks as long as the user is on the ground, with the most notable Old Power user being the Hulk's son, Skaar. Not a case of Personality Powers in his case, as he's more of a devious Barbarian Hero.
  • As the son of Gaea, the Earth goddess, Thor has limited earth-based powers. He can create earthquakes with his fists, his hammer, and lightning bolts summoned while in flight.

Fan Works

  • The Naruto fanfic Loyalty gives Sakura a major power upgrade in the form of a scroll of earth jutsu and a hell of a motivation to use it. Somehow, the author actually makes tunneling powers seriously badass.



  • Golem of the Seekers of Truth. Down side: it comes with skin like rough concrete. Up side: she can make really awesome sand castles. Interestingly, she is also a Cute Monster Girl.
  • One of the mutant varieties in Those Who Walk In Darkness—they communicate with the Earth and talk it into shifting. They're Always Lawful Good and hate fighting.
  • The Dresden Files has earth magic that can be used to control both earth and metal. Morgan is an especially apt practitioner of it, able to summon up massive pincers of rock that he uses to fight off hordes of zombies in Dead Beat and perform an awesome Shockwave Stomp.
    • Harry himself has very rough control of basic earth magic, but that control does give him some serious punch when he needs to pack a sudden punch. He can generate a sort of gravity hammer that concentrates gravity from a wide area into a single tightly-focused point; in one of the short stories, he uses this to kill a Black Court vampire without making any noise, and in Changes, he taps into a ley line to obliterate an entire horde of Red Court vampires at once.
  • One of the five Powers making up the One Power in The Wheel of Time, Earth can be used to create earthquakes or avalanches and is also useful in constructing stone buildings. The most prominent example of the latter is the Stone of Tear, which was created by drawing stone from all around the world to form a seamless stronghold that's virtually indestructible.
  • Earthcrafters in the Codex Alera, who are Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Like all the other Aleran elements, though, it gives them extra abilities; earthcrafters can also draw power from the earth to give themselves Super Strength, and while most of the "inspire emotions" powers belong to fire, earth controls lust and can "ground" the emotions of others, making them calmer.
    • But only when touching earth. Get them off the ground and they lose everything.
  • In Shadow Ops, terramancy is a sort of grab-bag set of magical abilities. It lets you control rock and earth (a good terramancer can swat a helicopter out of the sky with a sudden spike of rock, for example), lets you manipulate plant matter (ditto, for trees) and control animals. The latter is technically illegal and doing so will land you in the same boat as necromancers and gate mages.

Live Action TV

  • In Heroes, Sparrow Redhouse was revealed as having this power in an online comic.
    • In season 4, new series regular Samuel Sullivan, leader of a carnival stocked with evolved humans, will have this power. His dirt-dishing becomes more powerful the more supers he's around - hence the huge group of supers who he convinces are his family so they don't want to leave.
  • Agito Ground Form, Den-O Axe Form, OOO SaGohZo Combo.
  • Power Rangers Samurai: The Yellow Samurai Ranger's element is Earth.

Tabletop Games

  • Countless Dungeons & Dragons creatures and spells. Earth Elementals, Mud Paraelementals, and Avalanchers as creature examples; Earth Grasp, Earth Wall, Rock To Mud, Mud to Rock, Shape Rock, Stone Skin, etc...for spells. Also a few prestige classes like the Earth Dreamer.
    • Dao genies and, by extension, earth genasi. While these particular beings weren't open content, Pathfinder added spiritual successors in the form of (respectively) shaitans and oreads.
  • Shadowrun examples include Earth Spirit, Earth-based spells, and Sand-based spells.
  • GURPS source magic system's Earth spells.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Earth is the domain of the highly destructive Red mages; thus, there are many spells that fall under this, such as Earthquake and Stone Rain.
  • Earth Aspect Dragon-Blooded in Exalted are capable of this, as is anyone who uses the Earth Dragon or the Jade Mountain style of Supernatural Martial Arts.
    • And Earth Elementals. The Kukla, the Greater Elemental Dragon of Earth (one of the most powerful Elementals and beings in general in Creation), has powers such as "convert everything within 50 miles into freshly tilled soil" and is incredibly dangerous (simply waking it up causes earthquakes powerful enough to send tsunamis three miles inland on every coast in Creation).
  • Characters from "Scion" who have access to the Earth Purview have powers that range from being immune to harm from the earth to trapping people in crystals or altering the landscape at whim. At really high levels, you can control MAGMA.


  • Bionicle has two elements that fall under this category, Earth and Stone. The main difference is that Earth controls dirt and creates earthquakes, while Stone controls rocks. Neither controls sand, however (Word of God is that Stone can, the characters just don't do it to avoid confusing the audience about the division between power over rocks and power over dirt).

Video Games

  • Bloodline Champions has the Glutton bloodline who explicitly has earth magic powers. Some of the Ravener's abilities are named in manners that imply this, but their background does not mention such abilities what so ever, so the in-game abilities may very well just be named for Rule of Cool.
  • Pokémon is sort of weird about this, in that it splits Earth-based powers into separate categories. This is something of an artifact from the first generation. The Rock-type attacks are solely involved with chucking stones and using it for a variety of uses while the Ground-type is a hodgepodge of different Earth powers like sand (Sand Tomb, Sandstorm), mud (Mud Slap, Mud Bomb), lava (Earth Power), bones (Bone Club, Bonemerang), tremors (Earthquake, Magnitude), drills (Drill Run), fissures (...Fissure), and travelling in it (Dig), among other abilities.
    • Brock, Roxanne, and Roark specialize in Rock-type Pokémon, and Giovanni, Bertha (an Elite 4 member), and Clay specialize in Ground-type Pokémon.
    • The "Earth element" theme has returned with a vengeance since the introduction of the ability Sandstream, which allows a Pokémon to invoke this trope by its mere presence: Tyranitar and Hippowdon's appearance unleashes a permanent sandstorm that slowly damages all non-Steel, Rock, or Ground-type mons while giving various boosts to the owners of specific abilities (almost all of which have the aforementioned typing). "Sand teams" are a major force on the competitive scene and feature prominently in the fifth generation's "weather war".
  • Golden Sun: Isaac and Felix. Interesting because they are the 2 leaders/player characters of their respective games, which isn't common for the earth element. Issac's son, Mathew, continues this unusual tradition in the third game.
  • Orochi Yashiro of The King of Fighters represents the element of Earth. He even causes tremors before and after the fight. To a lesser extent, Daimon could also possibly fit in this trope.
    • Mukai from The King Of Fighters 2003 could also fit, as most of his powers are stone-based.
  • Elemental Lord of Earth Zamzeed from Super Robot Wars, piloted by first Ricardo Silvera, later Mio Sasuga.
  • Leon Magnus from Tales of Destiny, using his Swordian Chaltier. However, when he becomes Judas in Tales of Destiny 2, he becomes a Yin-Yang Bomb.
    • Also, the lazy, shapeshifting Earth spirit Gnome. True to the reputation, he's the only spirit who changes drastically from game to game: while his "siblings", Sylph, Undine and Ifrit, stick to the same basic themes, Gnome went from an army of phallic missiles to a large-nosed rodent creature between his first two appearances.
    • Ricardo Soldat and Hermana Larmo in Tales of Innocence both have some Earth magic. It's odd because, like Tales of Destiny, Innocence has sharply divided elemental characters.
    • Beryl Benito in Tales of Hearts is the designated Earth character. Character element is less binding than the above two, but it guarantees that she alone gets the ultimate Earth magic Ground Dasher. In fact, she's the only one with Earth spells at all, and she also uses Earth elemental techs, including the highly useful Guruguru (Spinning) Ribbon.
  • Lexaeus from Kingdom Hearts.
    • Terra from Birth By Sleep is a lesser example. Like Ven and Aqua, he can use other elements as well, but his specialty is in earth-based spells like Quake.
  • RuneScape has Earth spells as part of the standard spellbook along with the other Elemental Powers, second only to Fire for strength. The Hobgoblin Geomancer boss from Dungeoneering features such spells as his primary Magic attack, and they are inexplicably powerful against Damis who guards the Shadow diamond in Desert Treasure.
  • Gurdijeff/Grudiev, the dragon-like Earth Guardian of the Wild ARMs series.
  • Tenshi Hinanai in Touhou has a lot of rock-based bullets and Spell Cards.
    • Canonically, Suwako Moriya can create earth, while the other goddess, Kanako Yasaka, can create sky. Suwako's spellcards tend not to demonstrate this power, though.
    • Hisoutensoku demonstrates this side of her powers pretty well: her moves include "swimming" through solid earth and creating clapping hands made of stone, among other things. She notes that she has a massive advantage due to the fight taking place underground.
    • Patchouli has access to earth as one of the 7 elements she uses.
  • Elementalists in Guild Wars who specialize in earth magic, sometimes called Geomancers. True to form, they're the most defensive specialization, and geomancers tend to actually be more common as characters of a different primary class who pick up elementalist as their secondary. Warrior/geomancers, rather expectedly, tend to be the most common form.
  • Final Fantasy may or may not have an earth element, depending on the game. All Final Fantasy games except for Final Fantasy I and Final Fantasy II either have the Quake spell, Titan summon, Terrato summon, or the Brothers summon that deals earth-elemental damage. Final Fantasy I DOES have the Quake spell, but it's the Death-element. Final Fantasy II also has a Quake attack, but it can only be used with a very hard-to-get item, and only deals very little non-elemental damage. Final Fantasy XIII has Quake available to all of the party members as a technique, and Vanille's summon, Hecatonchires, uses earth-based attacks.
    • However, Final Fantasy XI does have the very common "Stone" spells, the Titan summon, Quake spells, and other earth-elemental attacks.
  • Doesn't show up in the Mega Man series as much as others, but Guts Man can produce stone blocks, Crystal Man and Jewel Man use gems, and Stone Man is essentially a robot Golem who uses the Power Stone (not that Power Stone).
    • Its brother series, Mega Man Battle Network, has Desertman.EXE, though, who is made entirely of sand. Stone Man has a counterpart in it, and there are several Breaking Chips that involve stones or stone objects (Aura Head, Air Hockey) or drills (Drill Arm).
    • In Rockman 6: Unique Harassment, Jewel Man's fighting style has been upgraded. It is now reminiscent of Culex, even down to the elemental jewels in his first phase. Mega Man can even obtain the Jewel Origin ability from Jewel Man and use it to rain jewels down on his enemies.
  • Maori Kasuga of Arcana Heart, who has Ohtsuchi, the Arcana of Earth, as her default Arcana. Powers include raining large rocks on opponents and summoning massive stone fists and feet.
  • City of Heroes has Earth Control, Earth Assault, Stone Melee, and Stone Armour powersets, and at least one notable NPC, Jim Tremblor, with some of these powers.
  • There are NPC Geomancers in World of Warcraft. The playable Shaman class also has some earth-related abilities.
  • Cray in Breath of Fire IV mainly uses earth magic, although he isn't the best magic user in the game.
  • Raigor Stonehoof, the Earthshaker, in Defense of the Ancients focuses on earth-related spells.
  • Knuckles' projectile skill in Sonic Battle is to throw giant boulders. Unfortunately, they're the slowest fireball in the game.
  • Sacrifice has James' Geomancy, with spells like "Hit enemy with rock", "Hit five enemies with rocks", and "bombard whole area with a lot of big honking rocks".
    • Then there's "obliterate enemy with flying cow", but that's another story. His monsters are also rock-based, with all of his ranged attack creatures using some variant of "throw rock at enemy" as an attack.
  • Sasarai from Suikoden 2 and 3 has the True Earth Rune.
  • Argilla from Digital Devil Saga.
  • Rock Mario from Super Mario Galaxy 2.
  • In Mother 3, PK Ground is a psychic ability exclusively used by Kumatora. It generates a massive earthquake which deals repeated damage to all enemies, is particularly potent against the penultimate bosses, and is one of the most powerful PSI attacks in the game.
  • The Sand Wand has this power in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. With it, Link is able to raise sand so he can rise to higher spots, move or stop heavy objects, walk over quicksand, attack sand-based enemies, etc. It's very versatile.
  • Monster Girl Quest has the earth element, one of the four natural elements. Users of earth magic can greatly increase their strength and defense, and imbue the weight of the earth into their weapons to increase the force of their blows. Gnome, the spirit of earth, is capable of manipulating mud and sand.

Web Comics

  • Maerril of Juathuur has this powers, with none of the associated characteristics (she is frail, impulsive, and arrogant. And dead.)
  • Bob and George: Stone Man.
  • Panthera: Leo Terrae, Lion of Earth
  • Dirtamancer Sizemore Rockwell of Erfworld. Though, before Parson entered the picture, he was mostly only used to create Crap Golems and tunnels. He could also convert gems into hard currency and, with the help of a Croakamancer, reignite an extinct volcano. Probably a good deal more, given that Erfworld seems to be rather liberal in what a given caster can do within their domain.
  • Wayward Sons: Haydez, after a few weeks practice after discovering his power, was able to carve a whole city out of a mountainside as a Holy Day gift to his crewmates.
  • In Wake the Sleepers, Locke's rescuer.

Web Original

  • Whateley Universe example: Valley Girl of the West Coast League. She's definitely not the Big Guy. The only thing big about her is her Most Common Superpower.
  • Gale from Trinton Chronicles has control over earth to a limited degree in addition to Magic.
  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe: Rock Bottom, Estatua ("Statue" in Portuguese), Granite Man, Surkha Khamba ("Ruby Monolith" in Hindi), Golem, Stone (not the biker-hero...the other one), Zemletpyasenee ("Earthquake" in Russian), Temblor, The Sandman, Mudpie, Mountain, The Sculptor, Sand, Kazan ("Magma" in Japanese), and Petra.

Western Animation

  • Earthbenders in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra control most stone and sediment-derived things. While it is most often stylized as telekinetic martial arts shaping and moving stone as attacks and defense, the strongest benders can even levitate giant boulders through the air. Most Earthbenders also exhibit an innate level of invulnerability to blunt force trauma, though forging literal rock armor around themselves is a technique several advanced benders use (usually against Firebenders).
  • Xiaolin Showdown: Clay.
  • Captain Planet: Kwame, another of the rare Earth-based team leaders.
  • WITCH: Cornelia.
  • Terra from Teen Titans.
  • The Aladdin series has two, probably because sand is everywhere (get used to it). Sadira manipulates more conventional sand, while Mozenrath has the Black Sand his kingdom is named for that seems for all intents and purposes to be sentient quicksand.