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The Living & Growing Rocks of Romania

Deep in the heart of Romania there are boulders with a life of their own. even scientists agree that they can grow and even sometimes move around. These are the mystical Trovant stones.

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Mysterious Trovants of Romania
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The Living & Growing Rocks of Romania

Is it possible for boulders to grow and even move?  Well, it seems that it is. For centuries, the locals of Costeşti in Romania were aware that some of the boulders in the region appeared to get larger and might even be alive.

Word spread and visitors started to arrive from far and wide.  In 2004 the Trovants Museum and Natural Reserve was established to protect these strange “growing stones”.  Due to the rarity of these boulders the area has also been recognised by and protected by UNESCO.

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Trovants of Romania that have expanded to join into a single unit (C) SSPL

There have been claims that during periods of heaving rain the boulders have moved of their own accord possibly due to the expansion of the base points. The spherical – almost biological – shapes of the Trovants are believed to date back to a series of paleo-earthquakes that once took place in the region.

So how do they do it?  It would appear that when it rains the Trovants soak up some of the minerals in the rain. These microdeposits merged with the chemicals already available in the boulders and this creates internal pressure much like a growing tree.  Over long periods of time the boulder start to grow as the minerals build up new layers inside the stone.  It is estimated that this build-up occurs at a rate of roughly 4-5 cm every 1000 years.

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Close up details of the the skin of Trovants boulder (C) SSPL

A scientific study of the Trovants has revealed that they do ‘expand’ in certain conditions and this is most likely due to a chemical reaction that takes place between the layers of deposited sandstone and the mineral carbonates in the presence of rainwater that causes the shell to expand.

When cut open these Trovants revealed that they had spherical and ellipsoidal rings similar to those found in the truck of a tree indicating periods of development.

Apparently, they have the ability to slowly move to new locations, possibly due to the expanding root-like extensions that develop underneath them.  In truth, scientists have yet to determine and agree an explanation of these unique characteristics and behaviour.

In most cases, Trovants usually have smooth surfaces and form rounded nodules making them look otherworldly like giant eggs or larvae.  These unusual shapes are believed to be due to irregular cement secretion and inverse weathering.

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.

Trovants differ significantly in size and shape. Some of these look-like pebbles that can easily fit in your palm, while others are much larger and can reach up to 4.5 metres in height. There are hundreds of Trovants spread over at least 20 sites throughout Romania.

Twin Trovants of Romania with Sand Root Base

Twin Trovants of Romania with Sand Root Base (CC) Image Credit: Nicubunu – Wikimedia Commons

For over 100 years locals have believed that these Trovants are ‘living stones’ infused with supernatural healing power which safeguards those who look after them and provide them with water.  Many locals have ‘talismans’ made from these stones or display lager versions in their gardens where they are said to bring good luck if well looked after.

One of the easiest ways to see these boulders in person is by visiting Romania’s Valcea county and heading over to the sand quarry near to Costeşti village or further along the river at Oteşani village. There are also boulders on display at the Trovants Museum situated in Costeşti Village.

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