A newly-discovered ‘lost continent’ has been found buried under the Mediterranean

Greater Adria: Tectonic Reconstructions of Mediterranean over 240 Million Years
Greater Adria: Tectonic Reconstructions of Mediterranean over 240 Million Years


Atlantis may have scraped a reputation as “the lost continent,” but a newly-discovered land mass may be more deserving of the title. Describing their discovery in the journal Gondwana Research, researchers at the Universities of Utrecht, Oslo and Zürich have named this ancient continent—now buried under the Mediterranean—Greater Adria.

The announcement follows years of research and the most comprehensive reconstruction of the Mediterranean’s geological history, a process that involved extensive mapping of the region’s seas and mountain ranges over the last 240 million years. It was particularly challenging because geologically-speaking the area is incredibly complex—or, as lead investigator Douwe van Hinsbergen explained, it’s “a mess”.

“It is quite simply a geological mess: everything is curved, broken, and stacked,” van Hinsbergen, a professor in global tectonics and paleogeography at Utrecht University, said in a statement.

“Compared to this, the Himalayas, for example, represent a rather simple system. There you can follow several large fault lines across a distance of more than [1,200 miles].”

To unpick the evolution of the region, an international team of researchers collected and analyzed data from 2,300 paleomagnetic sites across more than 30 countries.

Advanced plate tectonic reconstruction software containing information on fault lines and magnetism enabled the team to peel the layers of the region one-by-one as far back as the Triassic period, approximately 240 million years ago. It was around then that a newly-discovered continent the size of Greenland, now called Greater Adria, began its journey as a distinct entity, split from supercontinent Gondwana.

“Most mountain chains that we investigated originated from a single continent that separated from North Africa more than 200 million years ago,” said van Hinsbergen.

“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.”

Most of Greater Adria was covered in water, with shallow, tropical seas containing deposited sediment like coral reefs. Indeed, some of this sediment is still visible to this day—in the form of mountain belts in the Apennines, the Balkans and parts of the Alps as well as parts of Greece and Turkey.

As the rest of the continent plunged into the Earth’s mantle—a process of destruction that began 100 million years ago—these sedimentary rocks were scraped off, leaving mountain ranges across the region as “deformed” remnants (or souvenirs) of the now-lost continent.

“Subduction, the plunging of one plate under the other, is the basic way in which mountain chains are formed,” said van Hinsbergen. “Our research provided a large number of insights, also about volcanism and earthquakes, that we are already applying elsewhere. You can even predict, to a certain extent, what a given area will look like in the far future.”

The beginning of the end for Greater Adria started some 100 million years ago, when it came into contact with what is now southern Europe. The collision with another tectonic plate forced it to submerge into the Earth’s mantle with only scrapings remaining above ground level. But while the continent is consigned to geological history, the findings do have present-day uses, the researchers say.





4 responses to “A newly-discovered ‘lost continent’ has been found buried under the Mediterranean”

  1. Boyan Slat unveils The Ocean Cleanup Interceptor


  2. Nine percent of world’s best inventions this year are made in Israel

    The Start Up Nation wins big as nine blue-and-white creations make TIME’s Top 100 for 2019.

    By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

    Time Magazine published its 100 Best Inventions of 2019 Thursday, and Israeli companies have created nine of them.

    The list was culled from nominations from editors and writers in
    nearly 20 categories such as Accessibility, Health, Transportation and
    Social Good, as well as from applications from companies themselves. The
    criteria, TIME said, included “originality, creativity, influence,
    ambition and effectiveness.”

    Israel’s contribution to making products “that are changing the way
    we live, work, play and think about what’s possible” is a hefty one,
    considering that it ranks only 101st in world population.

    In the Social Good category, WaterGen’s water cooler-sized machine
    can save lives in areas that have no access to the vital liquid by
    creating it — out of air. Its GENNY appliance “pulls moisture from
    ambient air to create drinkable water through a patented filtration
    process,” TIME said, allowing the device to produce up to seven
    safe-to-drink gallons a day. It also only requires a minimum amount of
    electricity or solar power to make it work.

    The company has already sent truck-sized units to disaster zones
    around the world that contain their own generators, but the product
    featured by the magazine is a home unit that can compete commercially
    with bottled water, making it an environmentally friendly device as

    In the Accessibility category, TIME reports that OrCam’s MyEye 2 is a
    “game changer” for those with visual impairments. Weighing less than an
    ounce, the unobtrusive device can be attached to any pair of glasses.
    Using artificial intelligence, it can then quietly read out any printed
    text to its wearer, whether on paper, products, street signs or on
    screen. It can also instantly identify faces, store items, colors and

    For the millions of people around the world who suffer from
    migraines, Theranica’s Nerivio in the Health Care category could do the
    trick. Strapped around the upper arm, the $99 wireless device can be
    turned on as soon as a person feels the headache or migraine begin, and
    it “electrically stimulates the body’s own neural pathway for tamping
    down pain signals.” The company said that it will only become available
    in its home country in April 2020.

    Tyto Care’s TytoHome is another Health Care winner. It is a handheld
    device that can do many routine exams that doctors do for patients in
    their office – but you don’t have to leave the house. It measures vital
    signs, and has adapters that can check your ears, throat, skin and even
    lungs. To get instant feedback on this information, it then
    video-conferences with a doctor in real time.

    The Israeli-made Temi made it to the top of the Home category. It is a
    voice-operated, autonomous personal assistant robot that can navigate
    around the house on its own and respond to questions and voice commands
    such as “Call Mom.” It has a touch screen computer “head” and even a
    small shelf so that someone in the kitchen can send a loved one a cup of
    coffee in another room.

    A product that will only begin testing next year was chosen in the
    Sustainability category, in the hope that it will work as its inventors
    hope. Eviation’s Alice is a nine-seat plane that runs completely on
    electricity and so far has a range of 650 miles. If its lightweight
    design proves itself, larger commercial aircraft may significantly
    reduce the aviation industry’s carbon footprint in the not-too-distant

    ECOncrete was picked for the Design category, for its unique
    “biomimicry” building technique that “replace[s] intrusive concrete
    infrastructure, from sea walls to seafloor mats, with products that
    blend in with their surroundings.”

    Lastly, two Israeli items made the Special Mentions group. A robot
    called ElliQ is a social companion for the elderly, and online insurer
    Lemonade will pay out any leftover money from an insurance claim to
    charities that its customers want to support

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