Shiny mystery monolith removed from mountains outside Las Vegas

A strange monolith found jutting out of rocks in a remote mountain range near Las Vegas has been taken down by authorities.

Its discovery over the weekend, and quick removal, revived a pandemic-era mystery that captured the public’s imagination when similar objects began to appear around the world.

How it got there is still a mystery.

“It remains unknown how the item got to its location or who might be responsible,” Las Vegas police said on Friday in a series of posts on X, formerly Twitter, announcing the removal of the glimmering, 6ft by 4ft rectangular prism.

Its removal was quick, because it was illegally installed on federal land managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and because of concerns over public safety and the land, a wildlife refuge.

Members of the police department’s search and rescue team had discovered the object over the weekend near Gass Peak, part of the vast Desert National Wildlife Refuge where bighorn sheep and desert tortoises roam.

It was the latest discovery in a series of mysterious shiny columns popping up around the globe since at least 2020.

In November of that year, a similar metal monolith was found deep in the Mars-like landscape of Utah’s red-rock desert. Then came sightings in Romania, central California and on the famed Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas.

All of them disappeared as quickly as they popped up.

The Utah structure, believed to be the first in the series, had been embedded in the rock in an area so remote that officials did not immediately reveal its location for fear of people getting lost or stranded trying to find it.

Las Vegas police said the same concerns led them to tear down the latest monolith on Thursday afternoon.

The department said it is being stored “at an undisclosed location” while authorities try to work out the best way to dispose of or store the massive object made out of a reflective sheet of metal that was molded around the prism and secured with rebar and concrete.

The otherworldly structure evokes the object that appears in the Stanley Kubrick movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The Desert National Wildlife Refuge, which was established to protect bighorn sheep and is home to rare plants, is the largest wildlife refuge outside Alaska.

Christa Weise, the wildlife refuge’s acting manager, confirmed on Friday in a phone call with The Associated Press that the object was torn down but declined to further comment.

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