Mysterious monolith puzzle has been solved by internet sleuths


Despite comparisons with Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the monolith’s origins are Earthly in nature.

Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau

A few days ago, the internet went wild at the discovery of a metallic monolith mysteriously standing in the middle of the Utah desert. The rumor mill quickly began churning at the find by Utah’s Department of Public Safety. Was it aliens? Had 2001: A Space Odyssey been brought to life?

And recently, just as mysteriously as it appeared, the monolith is now gone.

But, regardless of where the monolith has now disappeared to, some particularly devoted Reddit users have spent a fair amount of time and effort trying to discover where it came from in the first place.  

The Redditors were able to isolate the monolith’s approximate location, tracking the flight paths of Utah Public Safety’s helicopters to triangulate a rough area near Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River. Once the approximate location was narrowed down, the internet sleuths took to Google Earth to isolate the coordinates and figure out when the monolith first appeared.

Historical imaging data reflected that the monolith arrived sometime between August 2015 and October 2016, leaving open a fairly significant gap. Roughly around that time, the epic sci-fi drama Westworld was filming in a nearby location, so the best bet at the moment is that someone on the crew either didn’t pack up properly or maybe even used the metal to play a long-term Kubrick-inspired prank on the world.

The location had also been used in a number of other TV shows and movies, from more recent films like 127 Hours and Mission: Impossible 2, stretching all the way back to classic westerns in the 1940s and 1960s — though the chances that the westerns left behind a 10- to 12-foot metal monolith is about as unlikely as the alien scenario.

Officials from the Bureau of Land Management in Utah recently made a statement, declaring that the monolith was gone, but they have no idea who took it. 

“We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, referred to as the “monolith” has been removed from Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public lands by an unknown party,” read the statement, posted on Facebook. 

“The BLM did not remove the structure which is considered private property.”

The Bureau of Land Management has said it has no plans to investigate the disappearance, stating that’s the business of the sheriff’s office.

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