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Trovanti Museum Natural Reserve. Romania

This unusual phenomenon proves once again that nature is a living organism, in which even stones can move and grow in the truest sense of this word! These living stones are called trovants. Trovanti Museum Natural Reserve, a place of accumulation of such strange stone beings, is located in the south of Romania, among the sand quarries of the Vâlcea district near the village of Costeşti. For the first time, local residents paid attention to them when have noticed that the rounded stones grow up a little after each new rainy day. Size of trovants ranges from a few grams to several tons, and the largest of the samples reach a height of 10 meters. It is worth noting an important detail – these huge boulders were just small stones many years ago.

Interestingly, the smaller the stone, the faster it grows. Trovant growth process can be compared with the formation of pearl around a speck of dust fallen into the shell. Thus, on a place of cleavage of boulders, you can detect a concentric zonation resembling tree rings. As a rule, the stones have a rounded or streamline shape. However, they are growing unevenly, and so often take the most bizarre forms. But these stones are not just growing like mushrooms, some trovants, like the famous sailing stones of Death Valley in California, change their location sometimes and move from place to place. Moreover, they are able to multiply! Such a form of life seems to be inexplicable or even extraterrestrial! Creepy!

Geologists do not console themselves with an illusion that trovants are living creatures. They explain growth of the stones due to high content of various mineral salts under their shell. When the surface is wet, the chemical compounds begin to expand and press on sand, causing the stone to “grow.” Thus, at a certain moment, the bulge, which is formed on the surface of the stone from the side which gets wet, is gradually increasing. And when this bulge reaches a relatively large size, under the force of earth’s gravity it leaves the parent stone.

So, a young separated tovant already has a developed kernel covered with a thin layer of sand – that is, it doesn’t differ from any other trovant now. And even if the researchers were able to explain the expansion of stones, the division of the solid kernel remains an enigma to this day.

The process of reproduction of trovants can be compared with budding. Summarizing, we can list – these stones grow; small stones grow faster than larger ones; these stones multiply; these stones move in any direction for considerable distances, even uphill. All of these factors make us believe that the stones are really alive, and represent a kind of inorganic form of life.

Today, Trovanti Museum Natural Reserve – is one of the most important attractions in Central Romania. Tourists from all over the world come to gaze at the unusual stones. Resourceful Romanians make cute souvenirs and ornaments from small trovants, so you can bring a piece of stone miracle from the trip to Vâlcea. Many owners of such stones souvenirs argue that little trovants, when wet, start to grow, and even sometimes move around the house arbitrarily that produces quite an eerie impression.

Similar stones can be also found in other countries of the world, for example, in Russia, in the village of Andreevka (Oryol Oblast).

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