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Every schoolchild knows that there are seven continents. But recently geologists have discovered an eighth—and it’s directly beneath Europe. For 10 years an international team of researchers led by Douwe van Hinsbergen at Utrecht University took more than 2,300 rock samples from European mountain ranges. Then they used special plate-tectonic reconstruction software to re-create Europe as it was in the Triassic Period about 240 million years ago. It wasn’t easy. As van Hinsbergen explains: “The Mediterranean region is quite simply a geological mess. Everything is curved, broken, and stacked. Compared to this, the Himalayas represent a rather simple system.” But the work paid off: The scientists discovered that a chunk of continental crust about the size of Greenland became separated from the northern portion of the African Plate approximately 120 million years ago and gradually slid into Earth’s mantle beneath Southern Europe. The dislodged mass has been dubbed Greater Adria. Today most of the lost continent lies beneath the Mediterranean, but the top of the continental plate was scraped off and is now part of mountain ranges from Turkey, Greece, and the Balkans to Italy. “Forget Atlantis,” says van Hinsbergen. “Without realizing it, vast numbers of tourists spend their holiday each year on the lost continent of Greater Adria.” He says his team used seismic waves to find the underground portion of the missing continent. “The use of seismic waves made it possible for us to trace the rest of the continental plate—which was about 60 miles thick—to a depth of almost 1,000 miles.” The research team has created an animation that shows the formation and movement of the continental plate from 240 million years ago down to the present day.