The Trovants of Romania

Don’t you just love a good “geological manifestation”? I know I always have! But then, I’m easily intrigued.

Not that I had ever heard that phrase before reading about the trovants of Romania, but I love how it trips off the tongue. It also conjures up for me the seemingly magical aspects of nature; the things we can’t explain and, deep down, do not wish to truly comprehend.

Trovants are very odd rock formations, often bulging and bulbous, and so strangely misshapen that they seem organic. They can be as small as a snail or as big as an elephant. They have been around since before the dawn of man, and they have inspired a great deal of folklore. Some of the locals insist they are alive, and that they grow and move and give birth. They do seem to cluster together like families, and they look as if they are heading somewhere with purpose, so I can understand how these stories got started.

Our desire to understand how these rocks came to be has given rise to some outlandish theories that they are dinosaur eggs or alien pods. But more recently, scientists have studied them rather than just forcing us to rely on mere speculation. Some of these rocks have even been sawn in half to reveal their inner secrets.

Until quite recently, the prevailing thought was that they form somewhat like some cysts do in the human body. There is a nucleus, perhaps a pebble, leaf, shell, bone or fossil, or some combination thereof, probably tightly packed together due to seismic activity. Over time, water surrounding this nucleus leaves mineral sediment behind. As these trovants grow, water coming into contact with them is drawn inside, causing the rock to expand and force the minerals outward, secreting a cement-like substance and initiating yet more growth. It is estimated that a trovant can grow at the rate of 2 inches every 1,000 years.

As all sides of these rocks do not come in contact with water uniformly, some of these formations are lumpy. The reason locals think they give birth is that if a trovant develops a sort of side lump, and over the centuries that lump grows, it might eventually break off and this “offspring” will then become its own trovant. (He never calls, he never writes…)

Scientists are willing to back up the claim that trovants move. But they’re not going to break any land speed records. If they move at all, it’s due to the heating and cooling and thus the shifting of the soil beneath them. Any movement would be imperceptible to the naked eye.

These scientific explanations make good sense, but the strange thing is that in 2008, the International Geological Congress in Olso stated that there is no distinct nucleus inside trovants. So how do they exist and why do they only “live” in a few specific places? It’s back to the drawing board for the scientists, it seems. Meanwhile, many of these trovants can be found within the Trovants Museum Natural Preserve, which is protected by UNESCO.

I’d love to go to Romania and walk amongst these strange formations someday. Even in pictures, they look almost sentient, each with its own personality, and if so, they’re keeping quite a few secrets from us. I get goosebumps just imagining it.

Some things are more precious because they are shrouded in mystery. If I ever do see the trovants firsthand, you’ll be the first to know, dear reader! I’d find it impossible to bear witness to a geological manifestation and keep it to myself.


Travel vicariously through this blog. And while you’re at it, check out my book!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

4 thoughts on “The Trovants of Romania”

  1. If I suddenly came on something like that, I’d think I was Losing It. It’ll be interesting when someone does find out how those happen. Geology is pretty darned interesting.

    1. It really is! I had a friend in college who majored in geology. I scoffed. “What are you going to do with THAT degree?” Well, he’s been a geologist ever since. He lives in Hawaii. The sound you hear is me kicking myself for majoring in Spanish and Latin American Studies.

  2. Pretty sure this is how I spawned my geologically manifested offspring. (It’s true they never write or call as they slowly inch away.) I’ve heard geology could be a pretty rocky career… 😁 Actually, I always have a few rocks, crystals and minerals lying around and used to have an organized collection. Whenever I traveled, I’d pick up local stones to take home. Best day ever spent hiking was with a geologist, in the mountains, hanging off cliffs, helping him take specimens for a U.S. geological study.
    Trovants are probably sold on the blackmarket. If you can’t travel to them, you can have one shipped through the dark web, if you’re feeling felonious. 😏

    1. I can see it now… “I’d like an extra-large trovant, please, as ill-shapen as possible. And yes, a forklift can fit up my driveway.”
      Joking aside, I’m so glad you got to have that experience with the geologist. That’s quality of life, right there.

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