The ten feet tall monolith mysteriously discovered in Utah’s deserts has just as mysteriously vanished, the state’s Bureau of Land Management announced Sunday. Thought by some to be an art installation and others to be the work of aliens, the monolith was visited by dozens of people from social media before it disappeared.

The monolith was first discovered on November 18, by officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Aero Bureau. The officers had been trying to count bighorn sheep from a helicopter when they flew right over the monolith, and one happened to see the long shadow it cast over the ground.

“One of the biologists … spotted it, and we just happened to fly directly over the top of it,” pilot Bret Hutchings told KSL. “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!'”

By Monday, the Utah Department of Public Safety issued a statement announcing the discovery of the monolith, that it had been installed illegally, and that they had no plans to disclose the location of the monolith for viewers’ safety.

“The exact location of the installation is not being disclosed since it is in a very remote area and if individuals were to attempt to visit the area, there is a significant possibility they may become stranded and require rescue,” the statement read. “We are encouraging anyone who knows the location of the monolith to not attempt to visit it due to road conditions.”

A day later, the Utah BLM reposted the message on Twitter, even including a reference to speculations that the monolith was planted by aliens.

“Although we can’t comment on active investigations, we would like to remind public land visitors that using, occupying, or developing the public lands or their resources without a required authorization is illegal, no matter what planet you are from,” the Utah BLM tweeted.

“Please don’t try and visit the site as the road is not suitable for most earth-based vehicles,” they continued in the tweet’s replies.

Nonetheless, Redditors quickly narrowed down the monolith’s coordinates, and curious social media users quickly rushed to visit the site. One of the first visitors was self-proclaimed explorer David Surber, who posted a video and report of his findings after making the trip.

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“Had close to 200 messages on this. So here are the facts,” he captioned his video of himself with the structure. “Aluminum, Not 🧲 magnetic, Three pieces riveted together, Two rivets missing up top,” he wrote in bullet points.

“If you drive Lockhart Rd..go from the south and a sedan won’t cut it. Crossover SUV or higher.

You won’t want to be able to go about 10 to 15 mph on Lockhart so it will take you about 45 minutes

The hike from where are you park be perpendicular from the coordinates. You know you parked in the right spot if your coordinates on the map are directly online vehicle on the road. From there you have about a 10-15 minute walk in.

I would put the coordinates into Google earth and screenshot, that way if you have issues finding it like I did you can compare the photo to the rock formations you are seeing on your cell phone map. From there you should be able to bring yourself to the location.

I posted the coordinates in my story.

I had it alone to myself for about 10 minutes in the morning before people started showing up but overall not too crowded you all want to make the journey.”

With social media hikers and adventurers sharing their trips to the monolith and its coordinates, increasing amounts of visitors poured in. However, the land was undeveloped for visitation, and the Utah BLM issued a statement noting that the heavy traffic was hurting the surrounding environment.

“Visitors who flocked to the site parked on vegetation and left behind human waste as evidence of their visit,” the Bureau wrote. “The undeveloped area does not have restrooms or a parking lot. The BLM recommends that visitors not attempt to visit the site, which has no cell service and requires high clearance vehicles; passenger vehicles have already been towed from the area. We remind the public that driving off designated roads and trails in the Monticello Field Office is illegal.”

In that same statement, the BLM announced that as of November 27, a week after the Utah DPS announcement of the discovery, the monolith had been removed. Again, the statement was reposted on Twitter with a quick joke and photos highlighting the destruction visitors had left in their wake.

“We may not know if an extraterrestrial or earthling installed the “monolith” structure, but we can confirm that it has been taken by an unknown party or parties,” the Utah BLM wrote. The tweet was accompanied by photos of multiple vehicles parked around the site, the spot where the monolith once stood, tire tracks left off of a trail, and trash left behind in the area.

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