The Seven Wonders of the World may be receiving new additions. Researchers have discovered a continent the size of Greenland, mostly hiding underwater in the Mediterranean.
Named "Greater Adria" by its founders at the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, the missing piece of continental crust, apparently separated from North Africa and settled under Southern Europe. While much of the continent is underwater, much of the land mass is scraped during its large migration. These scrapes now make up the European mountain ranges, including parts of the Alps, Greece and Turkey.
"It's just just a geological mess. It's all twisted, broken and tidy," said Utrecht professor Duo van Hinsbergen, who was the principal investigator. "Compared to this, the Himalayas, for example, are a fairly simple system."
according to the researchers. Van Hinsbergen said the continent's large area has contributed to its past due discovery.
"… it also hosts more than 30 countries. Each has its own geological survey, its own maps and its own perceptions of evolutionary history," he said. "Research is often stopped at national borders."
Van Hinsbergen estimates that Greater Adria moved out of Africa more than 200 million years ago. The only part of Greater Adria still around its original location is a strip stretching across the Adriatic. The spot, known as Adria, connects Turin in northern Italy with the heel of southern Italy in the form of boots.
Scientists reconstructed the size and shape of the continent with advanced tectonic plate restoration software. They used "thousands of pieces of information" about the fault lines, stored magnetism in rocks and other movements on Earth to create the final image.
The study was published in the scientific journal "Gondwana Research" earlier this month.