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About 300 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs, in places the Earth was covered with huge swamps with trees and giant ferns.
As plants died they sank to the bottom of the swamp and then it formed a layer of rooted vegetation like the peat you use for potted plants. Over millions of years these layers became thick as more trees and ferns got added.
Mud, slit and sand were carried by the water, it settled and buried the layers of rotting peat. They ended up under many dense layers of sediment.
These sediments were buried deeper and deeper by more layers of sediment on top of them. This Squeezed the peat. The peat got compressed and the water dried out of it. It hardened over the years into black, hard shiny coal.
About 200 years ago people dug mines and started to dig out the coal.
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