Scientists Discover The Missing ‘Lost Continent’


This is the formation of the Earth in a nutshell:
When things got going about 4.6-billion years ago the Earth was a huge ball of burning gases. Some of those gases moved around in space,
but as time went on the Earth cooled down and the big ball was held together by gravity. Hundreds of millions of years later and land
started to form, but the continents as we know them today didn’t start out like this. There was a super-chunk of a continent and
we call that “Pangaea.” About 200 million years ago that broke in
two and we got two continents, known as Gondwana and Laurasia. They also split and voila, our current set-up. It’s actually a bit more complicated as
to how we got to what we see today regarding continents, and for many years scientists
have pondered over the question of how things split up. As you will see today, those scientists are
still learning and writing about new discoveries. One such discovery was discussed in a recent
paper. The title of that paper is, “Orogenic architecture
of the Mediterranean region and kinematic reconstruction of its tectonic evolution since
the Triassic.” We are guessing that sounds pretty complicated
for most of our viewers, so we’ll try and explain the paper in layman’s terms. Basically a bunch of scientists working at
the universities of Utrecht, Oslo and Zürich, claim they have found parts of an ancient
continent hidden under the Mediterranean. They are calling this continent Adria. The researchers spent many years trying to
figure out how this area of the Mediterranean formed over a period of 240 million years. This was no easy task of course, and to do
it they had to study the formation of a very complex region. One of the leading scientists went as far
as to say this area in geological terms was simply a mess, saying that other areas of
the world such as the Himalayan mountain range are actually pretty easy to study. In that paper the scientists wrote, “The
region has been the cradle for the development of geodynamic concepts that link crustal evolution
to continental break-up, oceanic and continental subduction, and mantle dynamics in general.” Again, that’s probably difficult to understand. So, how did they do it? Well, they studied something called “paleomagnetic
sites” and they looked at a massive 2,300 of them. Hmm, but what is a paleomagnetic site you
might be wondering. The answer to that is they are sites where
researchers look at the magnetization in rocks. The magnetic properties in the rocks help
researchers to understand when they were formed. In short, if you study a bunch of these sites
you should get some idea as to how an area formed. As one scienfitic paper put it, “By determining
the magnetic intensity and orientation of multiple rock outcrops in an area much can
be learned about the formation history, land movement, and geologic structure of the area.” So if you spent many years going over 2,300
sites you should get some idea as to how an entire area was formed over many, many years. Now back to our newly discovered continent. You remember we talked about the super-continent
known as Gondwana. Well, bits split off that giant hunk of rock
and one of those bits the researchers now call Greater Adria. It was about the size of today’s Greenland. Most of this place was covered in water, with
the scientists saying there were tropical seas with sediments in the form of coral reefs. They said some of these sediments can be found
today in the countries of Greece and Turkey, but also in mountain belts such as the Apennines
and the Alps. The thing is, around 100 million years ago
most of this continent was destroyed and it sank into the Earth’s mantle. If you don’t know what the Earth looks like
on the inside, let’s imagine a layered gumball with different flavors at each layer. We just live on the top, so generally don’t
think about the stuff we are standing on. The top layer we call the crust, so if you
want to switch the gumball analogy to a sandwich analogy that will work, too. The crust could be anywhere between 3.1 to
46.6 miles in thickness. That’s 5 to 75 km. The Earth’s crust is mostly made up of oxygen,
iron, calcium, silicon, aluminum, sodium, magnesium and potassium. Below the crust we have the upper mantle. The mantle is made up of mostly oxygen, silicon,
iron, magnesium, aluminum and some other minerals. The mantle is massive, and it makes up much
of what we call the Earth. It’s where volcanic and seismic activity
happens and is said to have an average thickness of 1,793 miles (2,886 kilometers). So, we have the crust, the upper and lower
mantle and we also have an outer core and an inner core. The core is made up of mostly iron and nickel,
but you might also find some gold, platinum, and uranium. It’s pretty hot in the inner core, too,
with the temperature being a sizzling 5,430 °C or 9806 °F. How do we know all this is
we’ve only drilled 7.67 miles (12,262 meters) down? Well, it’s a theory, based on the art of
scientific deduction. It might be 6,000 km down to the middle of
the Earth, but by observing what we can see we can deduce what lies down below. Back to Adria, around 100 million years ago
the continent was lost but it left some parts behind as a kind of souvenir, and these souvenirs
helped create what we now see as mountains. Mountains are formed by something called seduction,
which is when one plate is plunged under another plate. What happened is that Greater Adria hit what
is now southern Europe, and after that tectonic plates crashed and most of that continent
was plunged into the Earth’s mantle. Bits of it were left on top and we can find
them in mountains. The leading scientist said this about their
discovery, “Ore deposits and building materials that are vital to our society are found in
mountain belts such as those in the area investigated. The geological systems in which these resources
formed are fragmented together with the mountain belts that we reconstructed. The reconstruction is therefore useful in
the search for new resources.” He’s basically saying now they know better
what lies where, and underneath parts of Europe is in fact a lost continent. He also said that researchers now can have
a clearer understanding of how the Earth will look in the future. But don’t worry, things aren’t going to
suddenly change during your lifetime. There are theories about the continents moving
and forming another super-continent, but we are talking in millions of years. Does this fascinate you as it does us? Tell us in the comments. Also, be sure to check out our other video
The Evidence That The Lost City of Atlantis Existed. Thanks for watching, and as always, don’t
forget to like, share and subscribe. See you next time.

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