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Elements S4 • E105

There’s a Hidden Continent Lurking Beneath Europe

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Published on Oct 24, 2019

How did we lose an entire continent? Scientists have spent nearly 10 years to figure out the history of the lost continent they’re calling Greater Adria.
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So it turns out, Greater Adria is not truly gone...it’s lurking underneath southern Europe.

Roughly 240 million years ago, this Greenland-sized land mass was part of the Gondwana supercontinent, wedged in with its North African and European counterparts.

Then, 20 million years later, the continent decided to make a break for it and started separating from Africa, and in another 40 million years Greater Adria became a truly independent continent.

On its journey toward self discovery, floating about on the Earth’s surface thanks to continental drift, Greater Adria encountered what is now southern Europe.

Greater Adria shattered into pieces in response and was sucked under its opposing continental plate, where it got officially ‘"lost" in Earth’s syrupy mantle. But its top layer got scraped off and shoved up, instead of down, forming part of the Apennine mountains in central Italy.

Colliding plates are a messy and chaotic business, and these relics of a lost continent, mostly chunks of limestone, are sprinkled all over the Mediterranean meaning the continental remnants are spread out across borders.

Geoscience agencies tend to have developed their own logic and ways of talking about these kinds of geological processes, so piecing all of it together to form a whole picture was challenging in ways even beyond the science.

Find out more about Greater Adria’s journey to independence and how the continent came to be on this episode of Elements.

#Earth #Discovery #Exploration #Geology #Elements #Seeker #Science

The Mystifying Structures Hidden Within Earth’s Mantle
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghq10...

Read More:
Geologists uncover history of lost continent buried beneath Europe
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/...
"The only visible remnants of the continent—known as Greater Adria—are limestones and other rocks found in the mountain ranges of southern Europe. Scientists believe these rocks started out as marine sediments and were later scraped off the landmass’s surface and lifted up through the collision of tectonic plates."

Lost continent revealed in new reconstruction of geologic history
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/sc...
"These unsullied relics of Greater Adria can be found today in the heel of Italy’s boot, scattered from Venice to Turin, and in Croatia’s Istria region—which means you can take a vacation on the splinters of a lost continent."

Scientists Recreate What Happened to an Ancient Continent Shoved Beneath Europe
https://www.inverse.com/article/59206...
"In that destruction, it’s likely that a fraction of the ancient formation was scraped off — and today those scraps exist as rocks found in places like Turin, Italy, and Croatia’s Istria region."

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