For the first time in detail, geologists have revealed the history of a lost continent.
Greater Adria would have been about the size of Greenland and attached to what are now France, Spain and Africa.
In a 427 page & # 39; s long record of 240 million years of world history, researchers have described in detail how the continent has essentially crumbled into what is now Europe.
The paper is the most detailed reconstruction of what the land mass could have looked like a quarter of a billion years ago.
And Greater Adria, which could have stretched from the Alps to Iran, was perhaps the driving force behind the formation of mountains throughout Italy, Turkey, Greece and Southeastern Europe.
Greater Adria is said to have been attached to the north side of the prehistoric supercontinent of Gondwana, which consisted of almost the entire modern world – land masses that are now Africa, Antarctica, South America, Australia and parts of the Middle East and Asia
The & # 39; lost continent & # 39; was destroyed when it moved north and collided with what is now Europe, with most of its mass falling into the ground and sea and the rest of it falling apart into rocks on land
& # 39; The Mediterranean is just a geological mess & # 39 ;, said the lead researcher, professor Douwe van Hinsbergen, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands.
& # 39; Everything is bent, broken, and stacked. & # 39;
Professor van Hinsbergen wrote the article together with colleagues from universities in Oslo, Johannesburg, Zurich, Birmingham and Queensland.
They explained how they believed that not all of Great Adria was above sea level, meaning that it may have taken the form of an archipelago of islands such as the UK or the Philippines.
And as the plates shifted from the earth, the continent was ground in Europe, part of which was pushed under the rock and the rest crumbled on top.
It was this crumbling of the rock that may have laid the foundation for mountain ranges such as the Alps, Live Science reported.
Before becoming a continent of its own, Greater Adria is thought to have been part of the prehistoric supercontinent Gondwana.
Gondwana consisted of almost the entire modern world – land masses that are now Africa, Antarctica, South America, Australia and parts of the Middle East and Asia.
About 240 million years ago, Gondwana began moving north and collided with Europe and 100 million years ago.
Rocks that have been broken down and discovered by scientists are scattered all over the world, from Spain to Iran, making reconstructing the events particularly difficult.
& # 39; All bits and pieces have been jumbled up and over the past 10 years I have recreated the puzzle, & # 39; said Professor van Hinsbergen Live science.
Professor van Hinsbergen said the clash of Greater Adria and what is now Europe may have formed the basis for many modern mountain ranges, which are shown in detail in this image
This map of Europe, Africa and Asia shows the spread of rock from Greater Adria, which is illustrated by the different shades of brown along the north coast of the Mediterranean that includes Turkey, Greece, Croatia and Italy.
& # 39; Every country has its own geological survey and its own maps and its own stories and its own continents. With this study we have brought all of this together in one big whole. & # 39;
The continents collided with a speed of only about three to four centimeters per year, Science magazine reported, but it was still possible to break the 100 km thick continent deep down into the earth.
With the help of advanced computer software, Professor van Hinsbergen and his colleagues were able to find out what the tectonic plates of the earth could have looked like over time.
They looked at magnetic minerals left by bacteria in rock samples that were probably from Greater Adria to try to work out how their positions had changed over time.
The minerals try to orient themselves with the magnetic fields of the earth and are frozen in that direction in the rock, giving scientists an idea of how they can be rotated.
Professor van Hinsbergen's article was published in the journal Gondwana Research.
SATELLITE IMAGES DISCLOSURE RELICS OF & # 39; LOST CONTINENTS & # 39; HIDDEN UNDER ANTARCTICA
Last year, the European Space Agency (ESA) discovered remains of lost continents that have been hiding under Antarctica for millions of years.
Satellite images revealed a timeline of the ancient land masses buried 1.6 km below the icy continent.
Scientists said the photos shed new light on Antarctica, the & # 39; least understood continent on Earth & # 39; s.
They used data from the long-deceased Gravity field and Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE), which crashed into the earth after the fuel ran out in 2013.
Although the satellite had been out of service for five years, scientists were still collecting data about the Earth's gravity.
A team of scientists used GOCE measurements to map the movements of the Earth's tectonic plates under Antarctica.
Their research enabled them to follow hidden tectonic shifts over the past 200 million years, providing new insights into how Antarctica was formed.
& # 39; These gravity images revolutionize our ability to study the least understood continent on earth: Antarctica, & # 39; said Fausto Ferraccioli of the British Antarctic Survey at the time.
A team of scientists used GOCE measurements to map the movements of the Earth's tectonic plates under Antarctica
The research showed that West Antarctica (green) has a thinner crust than East Antarctica (blue), which has a & # 39; family resemblance to Australia and India & # 39;
The measurements shed light on the breakup of Gondwana, a long gone & # 39; supercontinent & # 39; that nowadays housed Antarctica.
While landmass broke up about 130 million years ago, the map shows that Antarctica and Australia were only 55 million years ago connected.
The research also showed that West Antarctica has a thinner crust than East Antarctica, which has a & # 39; family resemblance to Australia and India & # 39 ;.
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