At The Bottom Of Mediterranean Sea!
Scientists were busy monitoring the complex geological evolution in the Mediterranean region… and in the process, they unearthed a lost continent submerged deep below Europe: Greater Adria!
The scientists have claimed that this long-lost eighth continent, with a landmass the size of Greenland, was spread from Spain to Iran. Douwe van Hinsbergen, the Principal Researcher and Professor at Utrecht University (Netherlands), said: “Most mountain chains that we investigated originated from a single continent that separated from North Africa more than 200 million years ago. The only remaining part of this continent is a strip that runs from Turin via the Adriatic Sea to the heel of the boot that forms Italy.” He also said: “Forget Atlantis. Without realising it, vast numbers of tourists spend their holiday each year on the lost continent of Greater Adria.”
Geologists are trying to comprehend the plate tectonics in the Mediterranean from a different perspective. Generally, plate tectonics is a theory that helps us understand how the oceans and continents were formed. As per this theory, the Earth is a lithosphere, which includes the crust and upper mantle, and is made up of a series of pieces, or tectonic plates that move slowly over time. A divergent boundary occurs when two tectonic plates move away from each other. The theory further describes the large-scale motion of seven large plates and the movements of a larger number of smaller plates of the lithosphere, since tectonic processes began on the Earth between 3.3 and 3.5 billion years ago… However, this theory does not work in Turkey and the Mediterranean.
van Hinsbergen explained that “Greater Adria was likely a string of archipelagos by around 140 million years ago”. According to the senior geologist, Adria might have looked like modern-day Zealandia or the mini-continent that underpins New Zealand’s north and south islands. Only 7% of Zealandia is above sea level. “Then, between 120 million and 100 million years ago, the jostling of Earth’s tectonic plates forced Greater Adria down into the mantle, under what is now Southern Europe. The deepest portions are now at a 1,500km depth below Greece,” stressed van Hinsbergen.
Now, much of Greater Adria is under water… covered by shallow seas, coral walls and layered rocks. When Greater Adria merged into the floor of southern Europe, then disconnected layered rocks formed mountains, which are found in Alps, Apennines Mountains region, Balkan peninsula, Greece and Turkey.
The monitoring of the evolution of the mountains in the Mediterranean has been done in a collective manner, as geologists from more than 30 countries are involved in the research work. They have considered various things, such as previous geological surveys, maps, pre-conceived notions about how things were developed etc. The researchers used plate tectonics reconstruction software in order to reach the time when map of the continents looked a lot different!
Well, this is not the first time when researchers discovered a lost continent. In 2017, they had found Zealandia, an almost entirely submerged mass of continental crust that sank after breaking away from Australia 60-85 million years ago, having separated from Antarctica between 85 and 130 million years ago.
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