Trovants: The Growing Stones of Romania

Photo by: Marius Matyas via Flickr
Photo by: Marius Matyas via Flickr

You might have raised an eyebrow after reading the title, but nature is happy to confirm this fact and guarantees to give you the weirdest things in life as always. Trovants are extraordinary rocks that grow and multiply and you can witness these rocks in Romania.

The growing stones of Romania, Trovants, aren’t just unique because of its ability to multiply. These rocks are composed mainly by a hard stone core and the rest is made up of sand which forms around the core as its shell. Trovants can only be made by highly-porous sand accumulations and sandstone deposits that are cemented by waters rich in calcium carbonate. The name “Trovant” (trovanti) was made and introduced by the naturalist Gh. M. Murgoci in his work “The Tertiary in Oltenia”.

Photo by: Daniela Constantinescu via Flickr

Photo by: Daniela Constantinescu via Flickr

Photo by: Ciprian Radu via Flickr

Photo by: Ciprian Radu via Flickr

Heading straight to the question: What makes these rocks multiply? As you’ve read before, any form of water rich in calcium carbonate is essential in forming a Trovant, and that is also the key to make the rock grow in the presence of rainwater. After every heavy rain shower, Trovants absorb the rain’s minerals. The minerals are combined with the chemicals already present in the stone that later creates a reaction and pressure inside. The pressure spontaneously makes the rock grow from the center to its margins and multiply, with a deposition rate of about 4-5 cm in 1000 years.

Photo by: masalla via Flickr

Photo by: masalla via Flickr

Photo by: Marius Matyas via Flickr

Photo by: Marius Matyas via Flickr

Photo by: pentacs_b via Flickr

Photo by: pentacs_b via Flickr

Trovants usually appear with smooth and edgeless shapes. Cylindrical, nodular, and spherical; Trovants develop these inconsistent shapes as they grow and multiply due to irregular cement secretion. You can see these formations grow from a few millimeters, or to as large as 10 meters.

Photo via: Above Top Secret

Photo via: Above Top Secret

Trovants aren’t only strange due to their structure and ability to grow and multiply. They can also move from one place to another. Other than that, they also have root-like extensions and age rings visible when you cut the stone, but scientists have yet to find out an explanation to these unique features.

These rocks came into existence because of the earthquakes which occurred six million years ago. The sand reservoir was created after the successive sedimentation of the detritic material transported by the rivers.

Photo via: Above Top Secret

Photo via: Above Top Secret

Photo via: Above Top Secret

Photo via: Above Top Secret

If you want to see these rocks up-close then head right away to Romania’s Valcea County. You can either go at a sand quarry nearby Costeşti village, or along a river in Gresarea Brook nearby Oteşani village, approximately 15 km from Horezu. You can also see Trovants at the “Trovants Museum” Natural Reserve run by the Kogayon association which aims to raise awareness about protecting the environment. This museum located inside Costeşti village is protected by the UNESCO.

Photo by: Cornel Gingarasu via Flickr

Photo by: Cornel Gingarasu via Flickr

With combined characteristics of a plant and a rock, it’s confusing if these Trovants should be categorized as a living or a non-living creature. But whether it’s alive or not, these growing stones are surely interesting to see, touch and use. Besides its popular use as a building material for tombstones, locals also use these in making souvenirs.

Not only in Romania, you also see the growing stones in Russia, the steppes of Kazakhstan, Czech Republic, and other places.