It began back in November 18, when a Utah Department of Public Safety helicopter crew who flew over the Utah desert to help wildlife resource officers count bighorn sheep, found an object hiding between a canyon's rock floor.
After landing to inspect the object, the crew realized that it's something made of metal, shiny, and around 3-4 meters tall, put together with rivets. The team described it as a "monolith", saying that they found “no obvious indication” of its source.
The team then shared their findings to Instagram, as well as on its website on November 23rd.
Warning anyone to stay away, the DPS also avoided saying exactly where the monolith is.
“It is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” it wrote.
But within just hours, someone inevitably opened a forum on Reddit to locate the said monolith. And less than a day after the forum was created, the sculpture's whereabout was revealed.
The evidence for its location, was put forward in a post by Reddit user Tim Slane.
Through the shared video and photos by the DPS, Slane managed to pinpoint a small redstone canyon with a narrow gap that clearly resemble the imagery, using Google Earth. Slane also found the coordinate for the monolith, after zooming in to the hard-to-see object that casts a sharp, tall, and narrow shadow across the ground.
The object seems to be relatively new. as Google Earth photos from 2013 and mid-2015 had no trace of the sculpture.
But on an October 2016 update of the map, the metal monolith is clearly visible.
Slane that is also a player at GeoGuessr, a web-based geographic discovery game, said that he found the canyon after some cross-referencing.
In this case, he compared the flight path of the helicopter against the red-and-white sandstone terrain on the DPS videos. He said that he found the location of the monolith with clues like the cliffs’ height, the canyon’s erosion pattern, and a flat floor suggesting it wasn’t frequently flooded.
“The monolith was a little easier than other photos,” Slane said to The Verge.
“I started to realize I had a talent for finding places just based on the geography. All that paired with an abundance of curiosity about the world led me to spend a lot of time on Google Earth.”
And just like almost anything shrouded with mystery that the internet will reply with speculations and jokes.
Users of the web, including Reddit and social media, joked about 2001: A Space Odyssey. Monoliths are an iconic sculpture in the classic 1968 film by Stanly Kubrick. In the film, monoliths are machines created by an alien species.
Some media that reported and suggested specific artists as the creators of the sculpture.
Some theorists even suggest that the shiny monolith could be the entrance to Area 51.
Despite its mysterious origin and the many speculations that came after its findings, the spokesperson for the DPS said that it's illegal for anyone to install a structure on federally managed public land without authorization "no matter what planet you're from".
On the map, the coordinate for the monolith is at 38°20'35.2"N 109°39'58.5"W.
"We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the “monolith” has been removed by an unknown party. The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property..." More: https://t.co/ZXJDGzxDaD pic.twitter.com/xXHdijk496
— BLM Utah (@BLMUtah) November 29, 2020
Suddenly over the weekend. The monolith mysteriously disappeared.
The monolith that appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the Utah desert, was removed from its location in the middle of the night.
BLM officials said that "an unknown party or parties" removed the monolith sometime after Friday evening.
"The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property. We do not investigate crimes involving private property," the agency said in a Facebook post.
Only desert rocks marked the spot where the silver-colored metal structure once stood.
According to a witness, it was said that the structure was removed by a group of men, who then used a wheelbarrow to move it from where it was.
While the monolith has disappeared from the U.S., a similar structure appeared in Romania, again out of nowhere.
The monolith was somehow erected on Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt in northern Romania. The structure was spotted a few meters away from the well-known archaeological landmark the Petrodava Dacian Fortress, a fort built by the ancient Dacian people between 82 BC and AD 106.
No one has officially claimed responsibility for setting up either of these structures.
Responding to this, netizens again speculate numerous opinions.