Mysterious Phenomenon: The Curious Case of Romania’s Living Stones?

Referred to as “Trovants” in Romania, the Costesti stones are a unique type of sandstone concretion that have the ability to secrete cement and seem to exhibit growth-like characteristics.

Made up of a solid stone core surrounded by a sandy outer shell, these rocks have been observed to develop small formations after a heavy rainfall, earning them the nickname “growing stones” among the nearby residents. The stones have been known to grow, shift, and even multiply, forming remarkable and captivating formations known as troubadours.

In the quaint town of Costesti, there exists a fascinating natural wonder known as the growing stones of Romania. These unique geological formations have captivated locals for years, sparking myths and legends about their ability to shift and evolve like living beings. Surprisingly, these tales hold some truth.

Scientists believe that the peculiar spherical shapes of the stones were created during intense seismic activity in the middle Miocene era. The powerful shock waves from earthquakes compressed sand into rounded masses, while also concentrating limestone cement within them. As the surrounding sandstone eroded over time, the denser cores of the stones were revealed, giving them their distinctive appearance. Some of these stones remained hidden until recent years, buried beneath layers of sand that were later removed through mining.

The mystery remains: how do these rocks continue to grow, move, and multiply?

Trovants are fascinating formations created from a combination of hard stone, sand, and gravel that gradually build up around a solid core. These mysterious structures can only be found in areas with highly porous sand and sandstone deposits that have been cemented by calcium carbonate-rich waters.

The presence of calcium carbonate is crucial for the development of trovants, playing a vital role in their growth process particularly when exposed to rainwater. During heavy rainstorms, the trovants absorb minerals from the rain, which then interact with the existing chemicals in the rock, creating internal pressure and a reaction. This pressure causes the stone to expand and reproduce, with a growth rate of approximately 4-5 cm every millennium.

Trovants are known for their smooth, edgeless shapes which can take on forms like cylindrical, spherical, or nodular. The irregular secretion of cement during their growth causes these stones to have inconsistent shapes and sizes, ranging from a few millimeters to up to 10 meters.
What makes trovants truly fascinating is not just their structure and growth capabilities, but also their unique ability to move. These stones also have root-like extensions and age rings that can be observed when they are cut. Despite their distinctive features, science has not yet been able to offer a concrete explanation for these mysterious qualities.

When it comes to troubadours, their existence blurs the line between being a plant or a rock, making it challenging to determine their classification as living or non-living beings. Nevertheless, these peculiar creatures, resembling a fusion of both nature elements, present a remarkable view that shouldn’t be missed while exploring the Valcea County in Romania.

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