Coal has been forming on earth basically since it was created. Most of the coal that we use today began forming over 300 million years ago. Coal is made from decaying plant and sediment that was put under immense pressure and heat for extremely long periods of time. Coal formation is continuing even today, but as far as usable coal goes, it takes at least 1 million years in order to get to the point where it is even remotely usable.
Coal in significant volume has definitely NOT been forming since the earth was created. Coal derives from plants, generally on land, and there were no abundant land plants until about Devonian time, around 400 million years ago. There is little coal anywhere older than Carboniferous, about 320 million years ago. So, virtually all the coal on earth has formed in the last 7% of the earth’s existence.
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