|The Trovants’ Natural Museum in Costesti 18/12/2010
|Last updated: 2010-12-20 15:18 EET
In the northern area of Valcea county, at the foot of the Capatanii Mountains lies the smallest natural park in Romania, Buila-Vanturarita National Park. Besides the spectacular mountain trails in the area, this region is also appealing for its surroundings.
For instance, the Trovants’ Museum Nature Reserve is located 5 km from the Park. Upon entering the reservation, you get the feeling you’re in a huge garden, surrounded by petrified dwarfs. Then you realize that nature’s relentless force in creating and carving stone forms surpasses all human imagination. Trovants or concretions, also known locally as “growing stones”, are sandstone concretions that vary extensively in shape and size.
Florin Stoican, head of the “Kogayon” NGO and co-manager of the Buila-Vanturarita National Park explains how “trovants” are formed: “Trovants are basically ovoid or spherical in shape, although they may occur in a large variety of shapes. There are elongated trovants, with zoomorphic or anthropomorphic engravings. Their history is rather simple. 7 million years ago there was a delta where the present-day stone quarry is. This delta contained sediments, sandstone and siltstone in particular, amassed and transported from across the continent by a prehistoric river. Subsequently, various mineral substances dissolved into solutions that circulated over this basin of gravel and sand. These minerals acted as cement and glued together various sedimentary particles. Today, there are trovants with diverse compositions. Some are made from sandstone, others from gravel. In geological terminology, they are made from gritstone and conglomerates.”
There are over 20 sites in Romania where trovants still exist. One such place is in Sibiu county, another is Feleacului Hill near Cluj-Napoca, while another is in Buzau county. There’s a trovant site in Valcea county, near Otesani village.
Speaking about the size of the Trovants’ Natural Museum in Costesti and about the number of trovants it contains is Florin Stoican again: “The reserve spreads a total 1.1 hectares, that is, about 11.000 square meters. It encompasses the area at the basis of the quarry and the quarry itself. The trovants in the quarry wouldn’t have been uncovered had the sand not been exploited. As sand-digging works advanced, some of the trovants were moved. Since they were improperly protected, some trovants were moved from their place and even transported elsewhere. Two of them are at present in front of the Museum of Geology in Bucharest. For the time being, there are 200 to 300 trovants on the territory of the reserve.”
Unearthed while sand was being quarried in the area, trovants vary in size. Smaller ones can be held on the palm of one’s hand and are several centimeters-high, while bigger ones can reach 4 up to 4.5 meters in height and 2 meters in diameter. There’s a good chance buried trovants might reach even bigger heights.