A mysterious monolith discovered in a remote part of the US has – just as mysteriously – been removed.
The 10-12 feet (3-3.6 metres) metal structure was found in Utah last week, planted in the ground and tucked into a red rock cove, sparking speculation about how it had come to be there.
But on Sunday, the Utah Bureau of Land Management said the structure had been removed.
On Facebook, the bureau said: “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.
“The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property.
“We do not investigate crimes involving private property, which are handled by the local sheriff’s office.
“The structure has received international and national attention and we received reports that a person or group removed it on the evening of 27 November.”
More from Utah
Mysterious metal monolith found in remote part of Utah by state officials counting sheep
Linden Cameron: Autistic boy, 13, seriously injured after being shot multiple times by Utah police
Wheelchair hunting group set up to help disabled pheasant shooters
Thousands back call to spare dog which ate Utah boy’s hand
Prominent US ‘gay conversion therapist’ David Matheson divorces wife and comes out as gay
New species of armoured dinosaur discovered in Utah
The monolith had originally been spotted by state wildlife officials who were helping to count bighorn sheep from a Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) helicopter.
“That’s been about the strangest thing that I’ve come across out there in all my years of flying,” pilot Bret Hutchings told local news channel KSL TV.
“We were kind of joking around that if one of us suddenly disappears, then the rest of us make a run for it,” he said.
“We were, like, thinking is this something NASA stuck up there or something. Are they bouncing satellites off it or something?”
He said it appeared to be man-made, perhaps by “some new wave artist” or a “big fan” of the science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey, referencing a scene in the movie.
In the 1968 Stanley Kubrick classic, a metal monolith is discovered in the desert by apes.
The DPS had posted images and footage of the discovery on its website, and a person taking one of the videos could be heard saying: “The intrepid explorers go down to explore the alien life form.”
After the DPS shared images of the structure on its social media channels, followers came up with their own theories.
One suggested it was a “space portal”, another suggested the object was “probably left behind from a movie shoot”.
Others joked “this is where you plug in the charger” and “I was wondering where the heck I left that”.