SALT LAKE CITY — The mystery of the silver monolith found in the Utah desert has everyone screaming “extraterrestrial.” However, the mystery still remains of how or why it appeared there.
The tall, eerily symmetrical monolith was found in Utah’s famous Red Rock Country. A team of researchers with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources was observing bighorn sheep by helicopter when they spotted something out of the blue.
When they landed to take a closer look, the team did not find sheep. Instead, they found a three-sided metal monolith, about 10 to 12 feet tall, planted firmly in the ground. Where it came from or why? They could not say.
Investigating the Utah monolith
The Utah Department of Public Safety revealed its existence to the public on Monday.
“While on this mission, they spotted an unusual object and landed nearby to investigate further,” the department said in a statement. “The crew said there was no obvious indication of who might have put the monolith there.”
As strange as it may be, we still do not know who made it. No one has publicly claimed it as their art and when Utah officials found the monolith, it was unmarked.
Extraterrestrial or of this world?
At least we can assume the artist was not an extraterrestrial being. Jason Wright, a professor of astrophysics at Pennsylvania State University and the director of the university’s Extraterrestrial Intelligence Center, said, “humans are clearly capable of building rectangular pieces of art.”
“This monolith is clearly the sort of thing humans can (and do!) make, in a place where humans go,” Wright told CNN. “Indeed, desert art is common in the American Southwest, so I don’t see any reason to think it’s anything other than that.”
A Hollywood theory
Still, the possible art’s secret desert locale raises even more questions.
I.Q. Hunter, a film scholar and De Montfort University professor, told CNN he has a theory. Crews filmed parts of ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ in Monument Valley, along the Arizona-Utah border, he said; it’s possible the artist wanted to honor the film and place the real life monolith in a similar locale.
Wright agrees with Hunter’s theory because the monolith was also out of place in the films. Additionally, this monolith strongly resembles the fictional one.
Like all great art, this piece is up for interpretation. Since no one has claimed it, people are dreaming up their own explanations for how and why it got there.
Location hidden for your safety
Though, if you are planning on trying to find this work of art, don’t. The Utah Department of Public Safety said in a statement it would not disclose the exact location; “if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue.”
The Bureau of Land Management will determine whether to investigate further or remove the monolith –for instance, if it affects wildlife.
In a news release issued on Monday, the state’s public safety department said it is illegal to place works of art on federally managed public lands. So, that means they could remove the monolith no matter what.
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