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Trovants: The Stones That Grow

by hridika ahire
Trovants: The Stones That Grow

March 11, 2021

Have you heard about these stones found in Romania that are believed to be alive and growing? Not only that, but these stones are also said to be moving on their own!

Situated in East-Central Europe, Romania may not be the most famous country in the world, but it sure is home to a whole lot of absolutely fascinating things. You know the famous Dracula castle that you’ve seen in the many Vampire and Dracula movies? It is actually known as Bran Castle, which is located close to Brasov, Transylvania. It is also home to the Carpathian Mountains, Brown Bears as well as the Painted Monasteries which are also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But the most amazing and mysterious phenomenon in Romania is, hands down, the bulging boulders called “Trovants.”  Trovants are a type of stones which are found in the village named Costesti. Trovants, also known as “Sandteinkonkretionen” in German, mean Cemented Sand. These amazing rocks from Romania are a type of sandstone concentration and appear to grow as if alive because they secrete cement. These rocks consist of a stone core but have an outer shell made up of sand. Therefore, after a heavy rain, small forms appear on these rocks, which is why they are called the “growing stones” by the local people.

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A picture of Bran Castle, located in Transylvania.

The Formation Of These Stones

Some of these rocks are so small that they can fit in the palm of your hand, and some as tall as 4.5 meters. There are over 100s of trovants spread around 20 sites throughout Romania, which are likely shaped due to the massive earthquakes that took place around 6 million years ago. The long-lasting and intense seismic activity of the Middle Miocene structured the stone in such amazingly distinctive shapes.

The Middle Miocene is a part of the Miocene Epoch that is made up of two stages: the Langhian and Serravallian stage. The Miocene is the first geological epoch (a division of timescale) of the Neogene Period, which lasted from 23.03 to 5.333 million years ago. This time in the past had 18% fewer modern sea invertebrates, the Pliocene, which follows the Miocene Epoch. Even with the limited minerals available, these rocks were able to capture them and grow around them for millions of years and give us these marvellous stone structures, which are no less than a miracle for geologists today.

“Some are made from sandstone, others from gravel, in geological terminology, they are made from gritstone and conglomerates.” said Florin Stonic who is the manager of Buila-Vanturarita National Park. This park is situated in the central-northern part of Vâlcea County in the Capatanii Mountains.

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Some Trovants are made up of sandstones and some are made up of gravel too.

Some Non-Living Things Can Actually Grow

The reason for this apparent growth in these non-living things is believed to be the due to absorption of water. Some of the growth may also be because of the accumulation and deposit of minerals cemented by the calcium carbonate in the rich water available. The chemical reaction between the layers of deposit and the minerals mixed with the rain water causes the rock to have formations that appear like the stone is growing and developing gravity defying shapes.

These beautiful geological miracles appear smooth and edgeless in shape. The irregular cement secretion makes the Trovants grow and multiply in cylindrical, nodular and spherical shapes. The area surrounding the stones is made up of sand from which these stones are believed to have emerged. These sandstone beds have a layering that suggests that the area was previously home to ancient marine activities. Therefore, we can say that even though these rocks aren’t actually living, they have seen far more life than any human that has ever existed.

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Trovants, the geographical miracles are somewhat edgeless in shape due to cement secretion.

Myths and Legends that Surround These Structures

Now that the technical and logical reasoning for the formation of these rocks is done, let’s talk about the myths and legends that the local people seem to believe about these rocks. The locals believe that these stones bring prosperity and luck and that is why you will find these stones at their gates. When hiking in the Balca’s Meadow, you begin to see a strange object that appears in a dome-like shape, partially buried into the ground. This dome is perfectly aligned with the polar star which is why it is said to have a powerful presence in the local lore and legends. 

In the center of the site, at the very top of the mountains is the largest of these Trovants are found and the locals call them “the Olde Women”. A number of researchers, archaeologists, palaeontologists, philosophers and mystics come up to this site and make their own assumptions which range from the stones having a divine or extra-terrestrial origin to them being giant dinosaur eggs. Some scientists even tested the energy level and were shocked to find intense activity in these apparent living stones.

Worth a Visit?

The best time to see these growing stones in all their glory, is the monsoon season. Due to the rains, you will be able to see the stones actually secreting the cement it contains and newer, smaller stones begin to grow. You can also visit the “Muzeul Trovantilor” or “Trovants Museum Natural Reserve” which was created in 2004 to protect these stones. The museum is located 8 kms from Horezu, in the Costesti village and is declared as UNESCO monument.

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