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Metal monolith found by helicopter crew in Utah desert

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media captionThe crew found the unusual object while conducting a count of big horn sheep in the area

A strange metal monolith has been discovered in the Utah desert by a helicopter crew, leaving local authorities baffled.

Wildlife officials spotted the "unusual" object while counting sheep during a flyover in a remote south-eastern area of the US state.

They said the structure had been planted in the ground between red rock.

There was no indication who installed the monolith, which was about 10 to 12ft (3.6m) tall.

In an interview with local news channel KSLTV, the helicopter pilot, Bret Hutchings, said: "That's been about the strangest thing that I've come across out there in all my years of flying."

image copyrightUtah Department of Public Safety
image captionThere was speculation that the monolith was installed by an artist

Mr Hutchings said a biologist counting big horn sheep in the helicopter was the first one to spot the structure from the sky.

"He was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa, turn around, turn around!'. And I was like, 'What?'. And he's like, 'There's this thing back there - we've got to go look at it!'," Mr Hutchings said.

image copyrightUtah Department of Public Safety
image captionLocal authorities appealed for information about the monolith on social media

Mr Hutchings speculated that the monolith may have been installed by "some new wave artist", or a fan of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the 1968 film directed by Stanley Kubrick.

Imposing black monoliths created by an unseen alien species appear in the movie, based on the writing of novelist Arthur C Clarke.

image copyrightUtah Department of Public Safety
image captionBig horn sheep are native to southern parts of Utah

The Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau released images of the rectangular-shaped metal object in a news release last week.

It said authorities would determine if "they need to investigate further".

"It is illegal to install structures or art without authorisation on federally managed public lands, no matter what planet you're from," the department said.

The department has not disclosed the exact location of the monolith, fearing explorers may try to seek it out and "become stranded". The big horn sheep wildlife officials were counting are native to many parts of southern Utah, where the terrain is rugged.

As yet, no one has claimed responsibility for installing the structure.

Looking for answers, Utah's highway patrol turned to social media, writing in a post on Instagram: "Inquiring minds want to know, what the heck is it? Anyone?"

Most observers presumed it was an installation left by a sculptor, with some saying it resembled the work of late minimalist artist John McCracken.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

But some offered otherworldly theories, apparently in jest.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Related Topics

  • Utah
  • United States

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