The monolith was removed by an “unknown party” sometime Friday night, the state’s Bureau of Land Management said in a post on Saturday.
“We have received credible reports that the illegally installed structure, known as the ‘monolith,’ has been removed” from BLM’s public lands, the publication said.
“The BLM did not remove the structure, which is considered private property.”
The monolith was first discovered on November 18 by officials from the Aero Bureau of the Utah Department of Public Safety.
They were flying in a helicopter, helping the Wildlife Resources Division count the bighorn sheep in southeastern Utah, when they saw something that looked like something out of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
“One of the biologists … saw it, and we happened to fly directly over it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told CNN affiliate KSL.
“He was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, turn around, turn around’ and I was like, ‘What?’ And he says, ‘There’s something back there, we have to go see it.’
In the middle of the red rock was a monolith of shiny silver metal protruding from the ground.
Hutchings assumed it was “between 10 and 12 feet tall.”
It didn’t look like it had fallen to the ground randomly, he told KSL, but instead looked like it had been planted.
“I guess it’s a new wave artist or something or, you know, someone who was a huge fan (‘2001: A Space Odyssey’),” he said, referring to a scene from the 1968 movie where a black monolith appears. .
Still, it is illegal to install unauthorized structures or art on public land “no matter what planet it is from,” Utah’s DPS said in a statement released Monday.
The location of the monolith was not disclosed because authorities said they did not want onlookers to be stranded in a remote landscape and need to be rescued.
But that didn’t stop some. Several people have already successfully located the monolith, hidden in a red rock slot canyon south of Moab.
The hike involved driving in the dark over rocky terrain and checking the GPS coordinates, according to three people who went to see it.
At least one scout was lost at first. But the trip was worth it, they said, even if the monolith was not the work of aliens.
David Surber may have been one of the first to see the monolith in person. The coordinates of the monolith were circulating on Reddit, but none of the users could confirm that they were correct.
Mr. Surber volunteered to find out.
In fact, the coordinates were correct and Surber enthusiastically shared the results of his visit with 200 Reddit users who flooded his inbox.
Among his findings: The monolith was neither magnetic nor solid (he said it sounded “like a cardboard box” when struck).
He also shared step-by-step instructions for the trip to the monolith.
‘Mysterious’ photos still unexplained
“At the end of the day, alien or made through artistic expression, the monolith provided an opportunity for thousands of people to rally behind something positive again,” he told CNN in an email.
“It was a nice escape from all the negativity that we have experienced in 2020.”