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Gleaming monolith pops up in Nevada desert, the latest in a series of quickly vanishing structures

LAS VEGAS– The strange monolith looks like it could be from another world.

The reflective surface of the shiny rectangular prism, which juts out of the rocks in a remote mountain range near Las Vegas, mimics the vast desert landscape surrounding the mountaintop where it was erected.

But where did the object come from and is it still there? That’s a mystery the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it is trying to solve after learning about it through a social media post Monday.

Las Vegas Police said on the social platform X that members of the search and rescue unit found the alien object last weekend near Gass Peak, part of the vast Desert National Wildlife Refuge where bighorn sheep and desert tortoises roam. At 7,114 feet tall, it is one of the highest peaks in the area north of Las Vegas.

“We see a lot of strange things when people go hiking, like not being prepared for the weather, not bringing enough water,” police wrote. “But look!”

Photos accompanying the department’s post show the strange structure standing tall against a clear blue sky, with distant views of the Las Vegas Valley. It is reminiscent of the object featured in the Stanley Kubrick film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Neither the police department nor the search and rescue unit immediately responded Monday to requests for more information about their discovery — the latest in a series of mysterious shiny columns which has been popping up around the world since at least 2020.

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

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All disappeared just as quickly as they showed up.

The Utah structure, which captured the world’s imagination during the pandemic, is believed to be the first in the series. It was about 12 feet (3.6 meters) high and embedded in rock in an area so remote that officials did not immediately reveal its location for fear that people would get lost or stranded trying to find it.

Hordes of curious tourists still managed to find it, and along the way they flattened plants with their cars and left human waste in the bathroom-free hinterland. Two men known for their extreme sports in Utah’s vast outdoor landscapes say it was this kind of damage that kept them coming in late at night and tear it off.

Now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it’s concerned the same damage could happen at the Desert National Wildlife Refuge, which was established to protect bighorn sheep and is home to rare plants. It is the largest wildlife refuge outside of Alaska, covering twice the state of Rhode Island.

“People may come looking for it and come in inappropriate vehicles or drive somewhere they shouldn’t, trampling plants,” said Christa Weise, the shelter’s acting manager.

The structures in Utah and Nevada were illegally installed on federal land.

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