Trovanta: ancient and mysterious “living stones” from Romania

(ORDO NEWS) — A small town in Romania called Costesti is “home” to unusual geological formations – convex bulbous boulders called trovants. These stones have long intrigued the locals with their organic form and strange cement oozing from cracks, inspiring myths about the ability of stones to grow and move like living things.

Among the many geological curiosities, there is one that you have hardly heard of – unusual stones from Romania. According to legends, they can grow and even move from place to place.

Trovants vary greatly in size and shape – some can fit in the palm of your hand, while others reach 4.5 meters in height. Of the 100 known trowans seen in at least 20 sites in Romania, some only came to light after large masses of sand were removed from the quarries.

While many mysterious obelisks and other strange objects do travel the world in different parts of the world, these trowants are likely not going anywhere anytime soon – at least without help.

In fact, some of them are firmly (albeit precariously) anchored to the ground with a stone foundation. The most famous of these are the “Old Ladies” from Ulmet. Their bizarre and gravity-defying bulges are directly related to the origin of the unusual stones.

Trowants, probably formed by earthquakes about 6 million years ago, are a type of nodule – grains of sand or rocks bound by limestone (carbonate) cement.


“Some of them are formed from sandstone, others from gravel,” explains Florin Stoikan, manager of the Bila-Vanturarita National Park. “To use geological terms, they are made of sandstone and conglomerates.”

The researchers found no difference between the trowans and the surrounding sandy substrate. Thus, they suspect that the spheroid shapes were formed by unusually prolonged and intense seismic activity in the Middle Miocene. Shock waves emanating from the ground compacted sandy deposits and concentrated limestone cement to form them into spherical lumps.

Under heavy rains, some of the cement can flow to the surface, gradually increasing the outer circumference of the stone. Not much is known about this process, but it is said that the stone grows by only 4-5 cm in 1200 years.

The surrounding sandstone strata are interbedded – a succession of thin layers – so the area was most likely an ancient sea or ocean at the time the rocks and main sediment were deposited. This is also confirmed by the fossils of bivalve and gastropod molluscs, which can be found in some trowans.

And although the language will not turn out to be “alive” to call these stones, they have definitely seen a lot in their lifetime.


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