Monolith or just trash? Metal sculpture in Utah appears to have been demolished

FILE PHOTO: A metal monolith is pictured in a remote area of Red Rock Country in Utah, U.S. November 18, 2020. Utah Department of Public Safety via REUTERS

(Reuters) - The mysterious metal column found standing inexplicably in a remote part of Utah's desert last month was knocked down and dismantled by a group of men who considered it "trash," according to a photographer who documented the object's demise.

As images of the object gleaming amid dusty red rocks spread online, many noted a vague resemblance to the so-called "monoliths" in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey," prompting strained jokes about a possibly extraterrestrial origin.

But photographer Ross Bernards posted images to Instagram on Monday of what he said were the object's final moments that show there is nothing especially alien about the technology behind the sculpture: it appeared to be sheets of metal riveted to a hollow wooden scaffold.

In a caption accompanying a series of pictures of the object, Bernards described driving six hours on Friday with three friends to take some evocative pictures of the object by moonlight.

After getting some shots, he said he heard some voices coming up the canyon, and four men appeared. Bernards wrote that he stepped away so the new group could also enjoy some time alone with the object, only to watch as they began shoving it.

"They gave a couple of pushes on the monolith and one of them said, 'You better have got your pictures,'" Bernards wrote. "He then gave it a big push, and it went over, leaning to one side. He yelled back to his other friends that they didn't need the tools. The other guy with him at the monolith then said 'this is why you don't leave trash in the desert.'"

The object soon fell with a loud bang, and the men made quick work of breaking it apart and carting it off in wheelbarrows, Bernards wrote.

"Leave no trace," one of the men told Bernards and his friends.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the desert where the object was found, said last week it was not investigating because it considered the object private property, and so a matter for the local sheriff.

The San Juan County Sheriff's office did not respond to questions on Tuesday, but said in a statement earlier this week it "did not have the proper resources to devote much time" to the object's arrival or disappearance.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Jonathan Allen in New York, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 18
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3

Did you find this article insightful?


50% readers found this article insightful

Next In World

Mexican president progressing well with minor symptoms after COVID-19 diagnosis, minister says
Walmart to build more robot-filled warehouses at stores
Singapore detains teen for intending to attack mosques
Think your kid’s being bullied online? Don’t just read their messages
Australian state borders to reopen with zero local virus cases
Thais seek to restore fortunes with mock funerals
Biden polls higher in first week than Trump at any time
Rumours and fear dog Philippine plan for coronavirus vaccine drive
US scientists developing a mask sensor that detects the novel coronavirus
Report: People downloaded 218 billion mobile apps worldwide in 2020

Stories You'll Enjoy