Mysterious Metal Monolith In Utah Desert Suddenly Vanishes

A mysterious metallic monolith discovered deep in a Utah desert has suddenly vanished just days after it was first spotted by biologists from the air.

The 12-foot-tall structure apparently disappeared Friday night, according to “credible reports,” the Utah Bureau of Land Management said in a statement.

The “illegally installed structure” was removed by an “unknown party,” and not by department personnel, according to the BLM. There will be no investigation into its disappearance by the BLM because it’s “private property” and not part of the public lands, the statement added.

In the missing monolith’s place were some red rocks and a metallic triangle.

The monolith, which eerily resembled a mini version of the structure featured in the classic science fiction movie “2001: A Space Odyssey,” was installed in the remote red rock country of southeast Utah. 

Biologists from the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources spotted it from a helicopter Nov. 18 as they were counting bighorn sheep in the area.

But internet sleuths, using historical images with the help of Google Earth, discovered that the monolith appeared between August 2015 and October 2016, CNET reported. The futuristic TV series”Westworld” was being filmed nearby at the time, noted CNET, which could be a clue to its origins.

State officials quickly debunked the idea that the monolith was placed by space aliens. But they conceded it would have been difficult to place in such a remote locations far from roads. Some speculated it was an elaborate art project by artists unknown.

Hundreds of tourists flocked to the site in recent days to view the structure. 

The Utah Department of Heritage and Arts has called the structure “vandalism” — even though it had “better craftsmanship than graffiti,” the department said in a statement.

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Mysterious Monolith In US Desert Reportedly Disappears

The shiny, triangular pillar which protruded some 12 feet from the red rocks of southern Utah was spotted on November 18 by baffled local officials counting bighorn sheep from the air


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A mysterious metal monolith found in the remote desert of the western United States, sparking a national guessing game over how it got there, has apparently disappeared, officials said Saturday.

The Bureau of Land Management in Utah said it had received “credible reports” that the object had been removed “by an unknown party” on Friday evening.

The bureau “did not remove the structure which is considered private property,” it said in a statement.

“We do not investigate crimes involving private property which are handled by the local sheriff’s office.”

The shiny, triangular pillar which protruded some 12 feet from the red rocks of southern Utah was spotted on November 18 by baffled local officials counting bighorn sheep from the air.

After landing their helicopter to investigate, Utah Department of Public Safety crew members found “a metal monolith installed in the ground” but “no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.”

US crew finds metal monolith in remote area of Utah

News of the discovery quickly went viral, with many noting the object’s similarity with strange alien monoliths that trigger huge leaps in human progress in Stanley Kubrick’s classic sci-fi film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Although officials had refused to disclose the object’s location out of fear that hordes of curious sightseers would flock to the remote wilderness, some explorers had been able to track it down.

Some observers pointed out the object’s resemblance to the avant-garde work of John McCracken, a US artist who lived for a time in nearby New Mexico, and died in 2011.

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Visitors track down mystery desert monolith in Utah

Some intrepid visitors have been flocking to a remote part of southern Utah in a bid to be among the first to see the mystery metal monolith.



a person wearing a hat: Photograph: @davidsurber_/Reuters


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: @davidsurber_/Reuters

The structure in the Red Rock desert was first discovered last week from the air by a helicopter pilot and wildlife officers who were carrying out an annual count of bighorn sheep.

They did not share its coordinates, hoping to put people off trying to make their own pilgrimages in case they got lost in the remote area. But for some, the intrigue was overwhelming.

Related: Theories abound over mystery metal monolith found in Utah

Around 48 hours after news of their finding was made public, pictures appeared on Instagram of people who had managed to find it.

Gallery: Lost in labyrinths: world’s most magnificent mazes (StarsInsider)

Among them was David Surber, 33, a former US army infantry officer, who drove for six hours through the night to find it after spotting a Reddit post purporting to have found its coordinates.



a person wearing a hat: David Surber with the monolith in Red Rock Desert, Utah, in this still image obtained from a social media video.


© Photograph: @davidsurber_/Reuters
David Surber with the monolith in Red Rock Desert, Utah, in this still image obtained from a social media video.

“Awesome journey out to the monolith today,” he wrote on Instagram, where he also shared its location. “Regardless of who built it or where it came from. It was a positive escape from today’s world. Some for many people to rally behind and enjoy together.”

He said he was alone with the structure, which he described as formed of aluminium and formed of “three pieces riveted together”, for about 10 minutes before others arrived.

“Overall not too crowded you all want to make the journey,” he wrote.

Tim Slane, who shared the coordinates on Reddit, said he worked them out by tracking the flight path of the helicopter.

It is not known what the origins of the object, estimated by Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot who discovered it, to be between 10ft and 12ft high (about three metres), are.

But it has been compared to the work of several minimalist sculptors, including the late John McCracken.

A spokesperson for his gallerist, David Zwirner, told the Guardian earlier this week it was not one of McCracken’s works, saying they believed it could be “a work by a fellow artist paying homage to McCracken”. But Zwirner later told the New York Times it could in fact be by the artist.

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Utah monolith: Metal structure found in red-rock desert compared to ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’

“He’s like: ‘There’s this thing! There’s this thing back there! We got to go look at it!’” Hutchings said.

Joking that they were intrepid explorers investigating an alien life form, the crew members determined that the monolith was 10 to 12 feet tall and planted firmly in the ground. It seemed to them like more of an artistic expression than part of a scientific experiment.

But mostly, it looked like something out of a science-fiction novel.

“We were kind of joking around that if one of us just suddenly disappears, I guess the rest of us make a run for it,” Hutchings told KSL, chuckling.

It was not clear who installed the monolith, which Hutchings designated the strangest discovery he’s made in years of flying over the Utah desert. The state Department of Public Safety will not disclose its exact location, warning that people who try to visit it might end up stranded amid the rocky terrain.

Officials noted that installing unauthorized structures on federally managed public lands is illegal, “no matter what planet you’re from.” The Bureau of Land Management is deciding whether to investigate further.

For now, the monolith is delighting science-fiction fans all over the Internet, who couldn’t help but note the uncanny resemblance to the mysterious structure in “2001” that came from aliens and sped up human evolution.

Some people also posited that the discovery of a random monolith in the wilderness was a fitting end to the wild ride of the past year.

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