Researchers Discover What Became of a Lost Continent, Now Hidden Under the Adriatic Sea

Researchers with Utrecht University in the Netherlands have uncovered what became of a lost continent that broke off from Africa and wedged itself under Europe, creating mountain ranges that span across 30 different countries from Spain to Iran. “What we have studied is the very complex history of the geology of the Mediterranean region,” Utrecht professor Douwe van Hinsbergen, the lead researcher on the project, tells TIME. Researchers had already known for decades that a continent created the mountain ranges of Europe and the Middle East. “What that continent might have looked like, however, was until now estimated with rather schematic cartoons,” van Hinsbergen says in an email. With the help of modern software, a clearer picture of that hidden continent emerged. “What we have done is use very elegant and useful and free plate reconstruction software, called ‘GPlates’ to systematically piece together what that continent looked like… how many there were… and how [it] broke away from Africa,” van Hinsbergen writes. The project was originally scheduled to take three years, but ended up taking 10. They found that over 200 million years ago, shifting continental plates caused a continent — which the researchers named Greater Adria — to break off from Northern Africa. This created a deep ocean, the last remains of which are the Ionian sea and the Eastern Mediterranean sea between Libya and Turkey. Reco...
Source: TIME: Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Uncategorized adriatic sea europe geology onetime Science Source Type: news

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