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 the monolith is “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 it in such a remote location. Some speculated it was an elaborate art project by artists unknown.
Tourists were flocking 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.