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Where did all this coal come from?

Coal seam Newcastle Australia: Photo 114438374 © Barbieboy00747 |

People have used coal for energy for several centuries now, and we continue to use it in vast quantities. But we haven’t even come close to running out yet. Where did all that coal come from?

It is common knowledge that coal formed during the worldwide flood when plants were buried and then, by heat and pressure, turned into coal. The world has used up a lot of the coal reserves to date, but the USA has more than an estimated 471 billion tons yet to be tapped into. Canada, Australia, China, and other countries also have huge reserves.

Many times coalfields aren’t just found in one bed but multiple coal beds stacked between other rock layers. With the world having already used so much coal for so long and still having huge amounts in reserve, how did we get it all?

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Here are the problems

If all the plant material living today were converted to coal, it would amount to an estimated 3% of the earth’s coal reserves. If we still have all of this coal, then where did all the vegetation needed to form coal come from?

Today, more than half the world’s land surfaces can’t support much plant life, if any. There are ice fields, mountains, and deserts. If you look at a globe, you will find that the continent of Antarctica is massive, along with Greenland and the Artic. Look at Africa’s Sahara Desert and central Australian deserts. Look at the area the Himalayan mountains cover.

We know that the earth’s surface is about 30 percent land and 70 percent ocean. However, it is quite possible that God had originally created a much larger land surface on Day 3 of creation week (Genesis 1:9–10). It was only after the flood that the continents were formed into what we see today.

Plus, there is fossil evidence that plants were once larger than what we see today. The fossil finds of pre-flood plants give us a view of how different early vegetation was thousands of years ago.

Researchers have studied coal seams and discovered they are often made from lycopod trees (giant relatives of today’s tiny plants called club mosses), giant ferns, conifers, and giant rushes. Many of the plants that grew preflood don’t exist in our modern world. Many of these plants had hollow stems and roots and were not designed for growing in soil but for floating on water. It is possible that before the flood, there were huge floating forest ecosystems.

Today we have a tiny equivalent when we see mats of spongy bog vegetation that floats over lakes. It’s possible that the pre-flood world had huge floating forests that grew out from the coastlines.

If half of the planet was once a single massive land mass surrounded by floating forest mats that covered large portions of the ocean, and plants were larger than we have today, we can find an answer to the question: where did all this coal come from?

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When the worldwide flood of Noah’s day came, it swept over the land, burying the vegetation in beds between rock layers. The pressure and heat at these depths converted these beds of plants into coal within a matter of months.

When we see coal, we are reminded of God’s judgment of the flood, but we also know that God provided an important energy source that we use today.

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! Psalms 66:5

Written by Doug Velting

Writer of the website

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