A strange metal column has been found in the middle of the desert in Utah. The column was spotted by state workers who were tracking sheep. So far, there’s no explanation for how the column got there.
The metal column, which is being called a “monolith”, was first spotted on November 18 by people working for Utah, who were flying over the desert in a helicopter. The workers were counting bighorn sheep, which live in the rocky red desert.
Looking out from the helicopter, the workers noticed the unusual object, and landed nearby to see what it was. What they found surprised them.
It was a shiny, three-sided metal slab about 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall. The object was planted solidly in the ground.
The monolith is in a hard-to reach spot somewhere in the 36,000 square miles (93,000 square kilometers) of Utah land managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Bret Hutchings, who flew the helicopter said, “I have to admit, that’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all the years of flying.”
The shape of the monolith and its strange appearance in the desert has reminded many people of a mysterious black monolith in the science fiction movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In that movie, the monolith was also unexplained, but it appeared to have been created by creatures from another world.
In this case, it’s pretty clear that the column is human-made. It’s made of stainless steel and held together with special bolts. So far, there’s no way of telling how long the monolith has been there.
Some people say that the monolith appears to be similar to artwork created by some well-known artists. But one of the possible artists died in 2011. Two others have said that the work is not theirs.
Still, people working for the government believe that the monolith was most likely installed there as an art project. But they note that it was quite a difficult task. The site isn’t easy to get to, and putting the column up in that location would have required moving very heavy materials.
Even so, the BLM isn’t happy about the monolith being built on public land.
In a message, the department said, “We would like to remind public land visitors that using, occupying, or developing the public lands or their resources without a required authorization [permission] is illegal, no matter what planet you are from.”
Though one strange metal statue in the desert may not cause too many problems for the sheep, it could become a problem if lots of people decide to visit the site to see the monolith. That’s one reason that the BLM has not released the location of the monolith.
BLM is also afraid that the monolith might encourage “copycat” artists to plant other similar artworks in the desert. That’s something that the department doesn’t want to happen.
The government still hasn’t decided whether to remove the monolith or let it remain.