"Gravel is an aggregate of fine stones. Chaches of gravel are often found underground, and sometimes covers beaches. It is then known under the name of Shingle. Gravel is a loose material that will collapse when tunneled under, and may easy bury the unwary, so be careful. It is the best source of rocks for throwing."
Gravel is a block that can only be found near water. In the Alpha 1.1 update the world generator was modified so, that gravel now spawns on beaches.
It isn't used in any recipes, but can be used as a building material. However, it is not popular because of its dark color and because it is very slow to mine.
|Wooden Shovel:||1.5 secs|
|Stone Shovel:||1.33 secs|
|Iron Shovel:||1.2 secs|