Millions of tourists have been vacationing on 'lost continent' for centuries without knowing
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Featured Image Credit: Douwe Van Hinsbergen/Utrecht University/Piero M. Bianchi
How Planet Earth looks now is so ingrained in our relatively very short lives that it's bizarre to imagine that in the past, the world looked completely different.
Many people will be aware that at one point in the very distant past, even before the dinosaurs, all the continents were smushed together in the supercontinent of Pangea.
Palaeontology also shows us just how much the landscape around us has changed. For example, the discovery of fossilised footprints left by a herd of dinosaurs on a beach, which were spotted at a wild angle in a cliff face.
Then there's the discovery of Basilosaurus, the fearsome predatory whale which lived 41.3 to 33.9 million years ago.
Well, it turns out that many people have been vacationing in the remnants of a 'lost continent', lost to time and the continually shifting forms of the Earth's surface.
This is the continent of Greater Adria.
If you've ever been on vacation to parts of southern Italy, Turkey, Greece, or Croatia, then you may have visited this lost continent.
At one point it would have stretched from the Southern Mediterranean all the way to Iran.
Now, however, most of the former continent is buried deep within the Earth, around 1,000km underneath Europe. But some parts of what would have formed it do still peek out from deep underground.
Douwe van Hinsbergen, Professor of Global Tectonics and Paleogeography at Utrecht University, said: “Forget Atlantis. Without realising it, vast numbers of tourists spend their holiday each year on the lost continent of Greater Adria."
He added: "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.”
Greater Adria would have been about the size of Greenland, and was a chain of islands stretching across a prehistoric ocean. As the world changed, they were pushed deep beneath the surface until very little now remains.
Nonetheless, it just so happens that the parts which do still poke out from beneath the Earth are in popular tourist hotspots.
One part of the world which has a lot of mythology and superstition attached to it is the Appalachian Mountains. What is scary is that unlike Greater Adria, Appalachians have been above ground more or less unchanged for millions of years.
So who knows what prehistoric monsters could still be stalking those forests!