A mysterious monolith appears near Las Vegas. For what? It’s anyone’s guess.

It looks like something out of a science fiction movie. A tall vertical column reflecting everything around it, without any explanation of its purpose and origin.

Cue the crescendo cascade of instruments from the theme music of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” a film featuring a large monolith. Only, it’s not a view from a distant space outpost, nor is it a view of a part of Earth in an alternate reality. This vertical object is found next to a hiking trail in North Las Vegas – a discovery police are calling “MYSTERY MONOLITH!” »

“We see a lot of strange things when people go hiking, like not being prepared for the weather, not bringing enough water… but look at this! » Read a social media post Monday from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

The department said LVMPD Search and Rescue, a volunteer organization, spotted the object over the weekend near the Gass Peak Trail, located about 16 miles north of Las Vegas and part of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge .

Photographs shared by police show the solitary vertical slab reflecting the dry, rugged terrain and rocky desert landscape against a bright blue sky.

It was not immediately clear where the object came from, how it got there — or what would happen to it next. After sharing the image on social media, a police spokesperson said Tuesday they would not comment on the monolith.

Subscribers to the Police Facebook page had fun wondering about the origins of the geometric figure.

“It’s always the aliens,” one person wrote.

Another suggested the monolith was perhaps “a portal to a different place.”

In the meantime, Las Vegas officials decided to use the mystery as a public service announcement, sharing some safety tips for riding Las Vegas trails in the same comment thread.

The department reminded people to tell someone where they plan to hike or climb and when they plan to return; look up the weather forecast before a hike; to bring first aid kits “as well as extra food and water!” as well as “bad weather equipment” for a minimum overnight stay; and carry a light source, a fully charged phone and a personal locator beacon.

The Las Vegas column is not the only monolith that has attracted attention in recent years after appearing out of nowhere, baffling officials and residents and sparking curiosity.

In March, a man who resided in Hay-on-Wye in Powys, Wales, woke up to take a routine walk around Hay Bluff, only to find a silver monolith which he said appeared to have been made from surgical steel.

In 2020, a three-sided metal monolith, approximately 10 to 12 feet tall, was discovered at the base of a barren canyon in Utah’s Red Rock Country. The Utah Department of Public Safety shared the discovery, calling it an “unusual object” spotted in southeastern Utah during an investigation with the state wildlife agency.

That same year, a 10-foot monolith was discovered under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. In both cases, authorities did not know the origin of the monoliths, although a group of artists claimed to have made one found atop Pine Mountain in Atascadero, California.

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