Despite comparisons to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, the monolith’s origins are earthly in nature.


Utah Department of Public Safety Aero Bureau

A few days ago the internet went wild at the discovery of a metallic monolith mysteriously standing in the middle of the Utah desert. Discovered by the Utah’s Department of Public Safety, the rumor mill quickly began churning. Was it aliens? Has 2001: A Space Odyssey been brought to life?

Thanks to some particularly devoted Reddit users, we now know that the likelihood of it being anything extraterrestrial is slim (though if it was going to happen, I think we can all agree that 2020 would have been the year). 

The Redditors were able to isolate the monolith’s approximate location, tracking the flight paths of Utah Public Safety’s helicopters in order to triangulate a rough area near Canyonlands National Park and the Colorado River. Once the approximate location was narrowed down, the internet sleuths took to Google Earth to isolate the coordinates and figure out when the monolith first appeared.

Historical imaging data reflected that the monolith arrived sometime between August 2015 and October 2016, leaving open a fairly significant gap. Roughly around that time, the epic sci-fi drama Westworld was filming in a nearby location, so the best bet at the moment is that someone on the crew either didn’t pack up properly or maybe even used the metal to play a longterm Kubrick-inspired prank on the world.

The location had also been used in a number of other TV shows and movies, from more recent films like 127 Hours and Mission: Impossible 2, stretching all the way back to classic westerns in the 1940s and 1960s — though the chances that the westerns left behind a 10-12 foot metal monolith is about as unlikely as the alien scenario.

Authorities ask that people don’t seek out the monolith themselves, as they may well become stranded in the desert and need to be rescued.

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