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Powderkegs can be lit by a Redstone signal or anything else that can light a fire. A powderkeg that has been lit can be disabled by usingwith an empty hand before the barrel explodes.
A minimum of 12 gunpowder is required for a small explosion, but more gunpowder can be added to increase the blast strength. A barrel with 48 gunpowder will create the same size explosion as an uncharged creeper. A barrel completely full of gunpowder (12 stacks) will create a crater about 20 blocks wide. Sizes will vary depending on the blocks' blast resistance and the location of the explosion.