Researchers have uncovered what was once a continent in the Mediterranean Sea.
The research, published in Gondwana Research, explains that the continent was once a part of North Africa and just south of Southern Europe. The long-lost continent existed 200 million years ago.
The researchers titled the continent “Greater Adria,” named after the Adria region, which runs from Turin to the Adriatic Sea.
“It is quite simply a geological mess: everything is curved, broken, and stacked,” said Douwe van Hinsbergen, professor of global tectonics and paleogeography at Utrecht University, 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 2000 kilometers.”
Most of the continent exists under waters, according to the researchers. The only part that still exists above water? The heel of the boot of Italy.
“Forget Atlantis,” van Hinsbergen said in the statement. “Without realizing it, vast numbers of tourists spend their holiday each year on the lost continent of Greater Adria.”
Per Fox News, the researchers used reconstruction software and factored in a bunch of information on fault lines and magnetism to identify the continent and create an image of it.
The mapping found that the continent became its own during the Triassic period, according to the New York Post.
“From this mapping emerged the picture of Greater Adria, and several smaller continental blocks too, which now form parts of Romania, North Turkey or Armenia, for example,” van Hinsbergen said in the statement.
“The deformed remnants of the top few kilometers of the lost continent can still be seen in the mountain ranges. The rest of the piece of continental plate, which was about 100 kilometers (62 miles) thick, plunged under Southern Europe into the Earth’s mantle, where we can still trace it with seismic waves up to a depth of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles).”