By: Krishna Rao
We all know that the Earth is made up of 7 continents – but there might just be an eighth one hiding under Europe.
We’ve all heard of the lost city of Atlantis – but what if I told you that there’s a whole continent hiding right below your feet? Recently, geologists have been able to reconstruct the 250-million-year-old history of the lost continent of Greater Adria – most of which now lies below Southern Europe. #gone
When I was a kid, I always wondered how the Earth came to the form it is in right now. Why are the continents shaped the way they are? Later on, I learned about Pangaea, and I thought I had found my answer – Pangaea split up and all its parts now make up our continents. I never thought that continents could go missing.
But apparently, a part of Pangaea the size of Greenland – Greater Adria – went missing, and is now submerged under Southern Europe. The only discernible remnants of the continent on the surface are pieces of limestone in the mountain ranges of Southern Europe.
Greater Adria, about 140 Million Years Ago.
Recently, geologists have been able to decode the history of this once great continent.
According to geologists, Greater Adria had a turbulent history. It broke away from Gondwana (a supercontinent) about 240 million years ago, and moved to the north. Between 100 and 120 million years ago, Greater Adria collided with what is now Europe, shattering itself to pieces, and causing it to submerge under Europe.  #destroyed
Only a few of the pieces of Greater Adria remained on the surface, while the rest of the continent made its way to the depth of the Earth. Scientists now believe that parts of Greater Adria can be found as deep as 1500 kilometers below the Earth’s surface.
What do you think? What if Greater Adria had survived? We might have grown up learning that there are eight continents on Earth. And what lies in the future for the continents? Is it possible that in a few hundred million years, the continent we live on may not exist? Only time can answer these questions.
Perkins, S., Vogel, G., Mervis, J., Malakoff, D., Escobar, H., & Frederick, E. (2019, September 6). Geologists uncover history of lost continent buried beneath Europe. Retrieved from https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/09/geologists-uncover-history-lost-continent-buried-beneath-europe
Image from ScienceMag