Today, our blue planet has five continents, but this wasn't always the case. In September 2019, an international team of geologists discovered an entire continent buried beneath Europe. Its name? Greater Adria.
Scientists suspected its existence, but it has now been proven: for 120 million years, an entire continentwas submerged underEurope. Named Greater Adria, it is able to offer us a unique glimpse of what our Earth might have looked like when only the supercontinent Pangaea existed.
At the time, the Earth did not look the way it does now. The continents were united and began to break up only little by little. And it is precisely through this process that Greater Adria is thought to have disappeared.
A glimpse into Earth's past
By analysing the complexity of tectonic rocks, scientists were able to trace this ancient continent. It is said to have plunged under the Earth's mantle and escaped the subduction process, leaving behind a few pieces of its upper crust. These pieces were then scattered throughout dozens of countries but were mostly found in southern Italy, and on the coast of Croatia. Douwe van Hinsbergen, a Dutch geologist and lead author of this study stated:
The Mediterranean is a geological bazaar: everything is bent, broken and piled up.
The study is the result of many years of work, which had to wait for more powerful software to be created, allowing an astronomical amount of data to be processed. There is no doubt that this incredible new continent still has many secrets to unveil.