Mysterious shiny monolith found in otherworldly Utah desert

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) : Deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah’s red-rock desert lies a mystery: A gleaming metal monolith in one of the most remote parts of the state.

The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday.

This Nov. 18, 2020 photo provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety shows a metal monolith installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Utah. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. State workers from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air and landed nearby to check it out. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. (Utah Department of Public Safety via AP)

This Nov. 18, 2020 photo provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety shows a Utah state worker inspecting a metal monolith that was found installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Utah. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. State workers from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air and landed nearby to check it out. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. (Utah Department of Public Safety via AP)

A crew from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air Nov. 18 and landed to check it out during a break from their work.

They found the three-sided stainless-steel object is about as tall as two men put together. But they discovered no clues about who might have driven it into the ground among the undulating red rocks or why.

This Nov. 18, 2020 photo provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety shows Utah state workers checking out a metal monolith that was found installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Utah. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. State workers from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air and landed nearby to check it out. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. (Utah Department of Public Safety via AP)

“This thing is not from another world,” said Lt. Nick Street of the Utah Highway Patrol, part of the Department of Public Safety.

This Nov. 18, 2020 photo provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety shows Utah state workers walking near a metal monolith in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Utah. The smooth, tall structure was found during a helicopter survey of bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, officials said Monday. State workers from the Utah Department of Public Safety and Division of Wildlife Resources spotted the gleaming object from the air and landed nearby to check it out. The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued. (Utah Department of Public Safety via AP)

Still, it’s clear that it took some planning and work to construct the 10- to 12-foot (3- to 4-meter) monolith and embed it in the rock.

The exact location is so remote that officials are not revealing it publicly, worried that people might get lost or stranded trying to find it and need to be rescued.

The monolith evokes the one that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Because it’s on federal public land, it’s illegal to place art objects without authorization.

Bureau of Land Management officials are investigating how long it’s been there, who might have created it and whether to remove it.

By : LINDSAY WHITEHURST – AP News

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