At the foot of the barren gap canyon of Red Rock Country, Utah, a team helicopter counting the big-horned sheep spotted something strange and landed to take a closer look.
It wasn’t a sheep.
It was a three-sided metal monolith, about 10 to 12 meters high, firmly implanted in the ground, and there was no clear indication of where it came from and why it was there. The Utah Department of Homeland Security, which unveiled its existence to the wider world on Monday, said the team found the “unusual object” in southeastern Utah last week during a survey by the state wildlife agency.
“During this mission, an unusual object was spotted and landed nearby for further investigation,” the department said in a statement. “According to the crew, there was no obvious indication of who might have placed the monolith there.
The object was found in a remote area called Aaron Bott, a spokesman for the Utah Wildlife Resources Division, massive and very rocky, with many canyons and potential hazards. “It’s a hard place to get to both by car and on foot,” he said.
“We fly low enough for these surveys to identify the sex of the sheep, and while we did, we found this strange metallic monolith in the middle of the desert,” he said. He called the subject an “anomaly,” but added that “it’s not too rare to find strange things people do in the desert”.
Photographs and videos taken by the team member and released by the class show the survey staff descending into the alcove toward the object. “Okay, the fearless explorers go down to investigate the alien way of life,” one of the crew jokes in one of the videos. – Who’s doing this?
“He’s pointing exactly toward the only crack,” another member of staff says, gesturing to the narrow slotted canyon of the red rock formation. “Yes,” the first man replies. – It’s just wild.
Helicopter pilot Bret Hutchings told local news KSL TV that as the crew approached, “we joked that if one of us suddenly disappeared, I think the others would run for it.”
But Mr Hutchings said it was probably an art installation. “I’m assuming it’s some kind of new-wave artist, or something, or someone who was just a big‘ 2001: A Space Odyssey ’fan,” he said, referring to the Stanley Kubrick film that featured a matte black slab. curious, increasingly excited primates discover.
“I have to admit, that was the weirdest thing I’ve come across out there during all the years of flying,” he added.
As Utah officials shared photos of the discovery, many other observers noticed the similarity, especially in a photo of a member of the crew climbing over another shoulder to look at the top of the monolith.
On Facebook, the Utah Highway Patrol shared photos of sheep and the object, asking for public thoughts. “During the count, they came across this (metal plate?) That was buried in the middle of nowhere … what do you think it is?” the inscription said. He added the emoticon of a stranger and a shrug.
Respondents had suggestions: “resonance deflector”, “eye-catching”, “good metal”. Some vaguely assumed it was a satellite transmitter. Others joked that it was a Wi-Fi router. Some said it was a surviving film profile – Red Rock Country served as the backdrop for “Indiana Jones,” “Star Trek,” and “Mission Impossible.” (A Utah Film Commission spokesman said, “To our knowledge, the monolith found in Utah this week is not from film production.”)
But authorities trusted “someone’s art installation or experiment,” said Lieutenant Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. – Maybe they thought of other things.
According to him, the monolith was made of stainless steel with “man-made rivets” put together and embedded in the rock, though how deep a mystery.
“Someone took the time to use some type of concrete cutting tool or something that they could actually dig, almost exactly in the shape of the object, and embedded it very well,” he said. – Strange. There are roads nearby, but the materials needed to cut into the rock and the metal running higher than 12 feet per section – it’s definitely an interesting place to be. “
Lieutenant Street Street added that officials had no idea how long the monolith had been there, saying, “We all know it’s been installed since the ’40s and’ 50s.”
Authorities refused to disclose the exact location of the monolith, saying attempts to visit it could be dangerous. “If individuals were to try to visit the area, there is a significant opportunity for them to be stranded and claim rescue,” the Department of Public Security said.
But the ministry has indicated that the monolith is on federally managed land – Utah has millions of acres – saying “to install illegal structures or art in federally managed public spaces without permission, no matter what planet it comes from.”
Lieutenant Street Street said the Bureau of Agriculture would decide whether to further investigate or remove the monolith, for example, if it was found to be affecting wildlife. The office did not respond immediately to requests for comments.
As for the team’s original mission? It was a success, said Mr. Bott, a wildlife official. “Sheep are fine,” he said. – It’s a strong population.