Mysterious Metal Monolith in Utah Desert Disappears Just Days After It Was Found
Just as suddenly as it appeared, the unexplained metal monolith that popped up in the Utah desert is gone.
The illegally placed structure — which prompted social media conspiracy theories that it’d been placed by aliens — was removed on Friday night by an unknown party or parties, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said in a press release.
“The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property,” the department said in a statement. “The structure has received international and national attention and we received reports that a person or group removed it on the evening of Nov. 27.”
The mysterious monolith’s existence was first announced on Monday, Nov. 23 by the Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau, which did not reveal its exact location so as to deter visitors from dropping by the undeveloped area.
Still, that didn’t stop “a relatively large number of people” from tracking it down anyway over the course of the week, the BLM said.
The unwelcome visitors parked on vegetation and left behind human waste during their trips, as the area has no parking lots or restrooms, and also broke the law, as it’s illegal to drive off designated roads and trails in the Monticello Field Office.
Photos the BLM shared from a site visit on Saturday showed a triangle left in the dirt where the monolith once stood, as well as toilet paper remnants from the visitors who left behind human waste.
“We recognize the incredible interest the ‘monolith’ has generated world-wide. Many people have been enjoying the mystery and view it as a welcome distraction from the 2020 news cycle,” Monticello Field Manager Amber Denton Johnson said in a statement. “Even so, it was installed without authorization on public lands and the site is in a remote area without services for the large number of people who now want to see it. Whenever you visit public lands please follow Leave No Trace principles and Federal and local laws and guidance.”
The monolith was first discovered on Nov. 18 by officers who were in the area conducting a count of bighorn sheep, the DPS Aero Bureau said.
The structure was tall and metal, and an estimated 10 to 12 feet high, pilot Bret Hutchings, who was among the first to spot it, told KSL-TV.
"That's been about the strangest thing that I've come across out there in all my years of flying," he told the outlet.
The BLM said it does not investigate crimes involving private property, and the incident will be handled by the local sheriff’s office.
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