By Cailey Rizzo
September 24, 2019
Taurus Mountains
Credit: Getty Images

You may have visited the lost continent of Greater Adria and never even realized.

According to a paper published earlier this month, a lost continent has been submerged under southern Europe for the past 140 million years.

Greater Adria extends from Spain to Iran, although most travelers won’t ever see it. Most of the continent is buried far underwater, although some parts still peak up in Italy, according to CNN.

"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," Utrecht professor Douwe van Hinsbergen, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement.

The discovery has taken so long simply because of the lost continent’s massive size. About the size of Greenland, Greater Adria stretches across more than 30 countries. “Each of these has its own geological survey, own maps and own ideas about the evolutionary history," van Hinsbergen continued. "Research often stops at the national borders."

Over the past 10 years, geologists from Utrecht have been reconstructing the lost continent of Greater Adria, which they believe shifted away from Africa about 200 million years ago.

When Greater Adria was forced underneath the mantle of Southern Europe, the complex geological formation turned into the mountains of the Alps, the Apennines, the Balkans, Greece and Turkey.

Using "thousands of pieces of information" about fault lines, the magnetism patterns found in rock and the Earth’s movements, researchers were able to piece together a picture of where Greater Adria lies.