Earth Release encompasses any earthen material, from dirt to stone to clay, and in fact often entails changing one to another. For most Earth Release jutsu, users place their hands on the ground and use their chakra to alter its form. Less commonly, users create earth within their bodies, which they eject from their mouth. Simpler applications of Earth Release involve changing the terrain around the user. Offensively, Earth Release can be clumped together for use as a projectile or broken up to create hazards for enemies. Targets can be trapped by creating an rock dome around them or a muddy pit that they sink into. Defensively, earth can be raised around the user as a fortification against attack, Earth-Style Wall being one of the more common options. Alternatively, Earth Release users can burrow underground in order to escape harm and, indeed, combat.
Earth Release is common among ninja of Iwagakure, who make varied applications of it: Deidara's Explosive Clay is partly-earth based, meaning it can be countered in the same way as Earth Release; Ōnoki, by touching targets, can make them too heavy to move or so light that they can fly; Akatsuchi creates Rock Golems to fight alongside himself and his allies; Kitsuchi uses a mountain's worth of earth to crush targets. During the Third Shinobi World War, Obito Uchiha was believed to be killed because of an Iwa-nin's cave-in, a favourite tactic of the village's ninja.
Earth Release is naturally strong against Water Release and weak against Lightning Release; in Kakashi Retsuden, this weakness is explained to be because impurities in the earth naturally conduct electricity. In the same novel, this weakness can be negated if the Earth Release is made of quartz, but this is so difficult to do as to be thought impossible. When Earth Release is combined with other natures, certain kekkei genkai are produced: earth and water make Wood Release; earth and fire make Lava Release; earth and wind are suggested to make Magnet Release; earth and lightning are suggested to make Explosion Release; earth is suggested to have some role in Crystal Release; in Akatsuki Hiden, earth and water make Mud Release. The combination of earth, wind, and fire produces the kekkei tōta, Dust Release.
- "Doton-no-jutsu" is a real-life ninja art, examples of which include curling into a ball and remaining motionless in order to appear like a stone.