Add an underground layer based on the carboniferous rainforest collapse. In this layer, you'll be able to find coal ore more often as well as ocasional veins of coal blocks(the ones made of 9 coal). I'd say this layer would be around altitude of 36 to 44 perhaps a bit lower.
The carboniferous epoch was reigned by giant arthropods, most well know ones being meganeura and arthropleura. After the rainforest collapse the age in which they lived was buried by time and became a layer of coal in the earth we live in. Perhaps in the world of minecraft there are some pockets where they still remain alive.. Just a thought tho.
The idea of the coal layer itself i think is nice and educational and doesn't change much in the way of gameplay and could be expanded upon later like the second idea i suggested.
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