American officials have joked that a mysterious monolith that appeared in the Utah desert was reclaimed by aliens after it suddenly disappeared.
A frenzy of public interest was drawn to the discovery of a seemingly otherworldly metal object that appeared in the desert.
The federal Bureau of Land Management’s Utah office confirmed in a statement on Saturday that the three-sided metal object had been removed by “an unknown party”.
While the Utah Department of Public Safety looks things one step further an hinted, perhaps with a tongue-in-cheek, that the object had been reclaimed by aliens.
The New York Times states the official government department said of the monolith: “IT’S GONE!”
The publication goes on to claim the Department of Public Safety stated: "Almost as quickly as it appeared it has now disappeared.”
Before adding, “I can only speculate” that aliens took the mysterious object back – adding an emoji of an extraterrestrial for good measure.
Conspiracy theorists have already speculated that the shiny object came from outer space.
The object came to the attention of the public after state officials stumbled across it on November 18 while surveying sheep from a helicopter.
Members of the public then managed to determine the location of the monolith by examining the flight plan of the helicopter and utilising satellite images from Google Earth of the desert.
Satellite images revealed that the structure actually appeared in the desert at some point between 2015 and 2016.
The NY Times highlights that the object: “was most likely a work of art and that its installation on public land was illegal.”
Officials have, nonetheless, been baffled as to how the object could have been installed inside solid rock in such a remote area.
Lt. Nick Street, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said: “Somebody took the time to use some type of concrete-cutting tool or something to really dig down, almost in the exact shape of the object, and embed it really well.
“There are roads close by, but to haul the materials to cut into the rock, and haul the metal, which is taller than 12 feet in sections — to do all that in that remote spot is definitely interesting.”
However, others have theorised that the original artist quietly removed the construction over fears of prosecution.
Matt Misbach, a member of the public who managed to track down the site of the object, told the PA news agency he arrived early on November 28 to discover it had already gone.
He said: "I got there early Saturday morning.
"When I arrived there were two young men still in their sleeping bags camping at the site. They got there at 2am that morning. The monolith was gone when they arrived."