At the base of a barren slot canyon in Red Rock Country, Utah, a team that was counting tiger sheep by helicopter felt somewhat strange and landed to take a closer look.
It was not a sheep.
It was a three-way metal stone, about 10 to 12 feet long, firmly planted in the ground, where it was not clear where or why it came from. The Utah Department of Public Safety on Monday revealed its existence to the wider world, saying the team found an “unusual item” last week in southeastern Utah during a survey with the state’s Wildlife Agency.
The department said, “While on this mission, he noticed an unusual object and landed nearby to investigate.” a statement. “The crew said there was no clear indication of who might have put the monolith there.”
The object was found in a remote area that Aaron Bottle, a spokesman for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, described as rugged and very rocky, with many canyons and potential hazards. “It is a difficult place for vehicles and walking,” he said.
“We fly far short for these surveys so that we can identify the sex of the sheep, and while we were doing this we detected this strange metallic monolith in the middle of the desert,” he said. He described the object as an “anomaly”, but also said that it is also “not uncommon to find things that people are doing in the desert.”
Photos and videos taken by team members and Issued by departmentThe survey team can be seen descending into the alcove towards the object. The crew members joke in a video, “Well, intrepid explorers go down to investigate the form of alien life.” “Who does this kind of stuff?”
Another crew member says “it is pointed right at the only crack”, pointing at a narrow slot canyon in a red rock formation. “Yes,” the first man replies. “It’s just wild.”
Helicopter pilot Brett Hutchings told local news station KSL TV As the crew approached, “We were kind of joking that if one of us suddenly disappeared, I think the rest of us made a run for it.”
But Mr. Hutchings said it was possibly an art installation. “I’m assuming, you know, some new wave artist or something, or someone else who was just a big ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ fan,” he said. Stanley Kubrick film In which a matte black slab is discovered by a curious, increasingly agitated primate.
He said, “I must admit, this is about the strangest thing I’ve accomplished in all the years of flying.”
As Utah officials shared photos of the search, several other observers noted the similarity, particularly as one photo featured a crew member who climbed on the other’s shoulders to see the top of the monolith Was.
On Facebook, the Utah Highway Patrol shared photos of the sheep and item, asking the public for its views. “During the count they came across this (sheet of metal?), Buried somewhere in the middle … what do you think it is?” Caption said. It consisted of an alien’s emojis and a shrunken man.
Respondents’ suggestions were: an “echo deflector,” “an eye light,” “some fine metal.” Some theorize, inexplicably, that it was a satellite beacon. Others joked that it was a Wi-Fi router. Some said that it was a proposal for a remnant film – Red Rock Country Served as background For the films “Indiana Jones,” “Star Trek” and “Mission Impossible”. (A spokesman for the Utah Film Commission said, “To our knowledge, the monolith found in Utah this week is not from filmmaking.”)
Visited art newspaper That object resembles “statues of free standing planks” Minimalist artist John McCracken, Who lived in New Mexico before his death in 2011 and whose work is represented by the David Zwiner Gallery.
“The gallery is divided on this,” Mr. Zwirner said in a statement. “I believe it is definitely by John.”
He said: “Who would have known that 2020 was another surprise for us. Just when we thought we saw it all. Let’s see it. “
Charity, A metal sculptor Located in Salt Lake City, said he was not responsible for the monolith. “I have no idea where it came from, who or why it did it,” he said in an email.
Public Safety Department spokesman Lt. Nick Street said officials were confident that “this is someone’s art installation, or an attempt at it.”
He said that the monolith was made of stainless steel, held together “with man-made rivets” and embedded in the rock, though how deep a mystery it was.
“Someone took the time to use a concrete cutting tool or something to really dig in, almost the exact size of the object, and embed it really well,” he said. “It’s weird. There are roads nearby, but the material has to be hauled in to cut the rock, and haul the metal, which is over 12 feet long in squares – to do it all in that remote place of course. Is interesting. “
Lt. Street said that while officials had no idea how long the monolith is, he said, “We all know it’s been established since the ’40s and’ 50s.”
Authorities refused to disclose the exact location of the monolith, saying the attempt to visit it could be dangerous. “If people were to try to visit the area, there is a significant possibility that they may be stranded and may need rescue,” the Department of Public Safety said.
But the department indicated that the monolith was on land managed by the union – near Utah Millions of acres of it – Saying, “It is illegal to install structures or art on union-ruled public lands without authorization, no matter where you are from the planet.”
Lt. Street said that the Bureau of Land Management would determine whether wildlife is found to affect them, for example investigate further or remove monoliths. The Bureau said in a statement on Tuesday, “Although we cannot comment on the active investigation, we would like to remind public land visitors that using, occupying or developing public lands or their resources without a necessary authorization Is illegal. “
As for the team’s original mission? Wildlife officer Mr Bottle said it was a success. “The sheep are doing well,” he said. “It is a strong population.”