What is Going On? Monolith Appears Outside Vegas, One of 200 Worldwide

On Gass Peak, just north of the valley where Las Vegas sparkles in the desert night, sits a mysterious shiny object. And nobody — including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) — knows how it got there.

Yes, it’s another monolith. The mirrored, metallic structure is similar to nearly 200 examples that have popped up all over the world since 2020, in places as widely scattered as California, Wales, the Isle of Wight, and Romania. The first was discovered while conducting helicopter surveys of bighorn sheep in San Juan County, Utah.

The latest monolith showed up on a hiking trail above Vegas over the weekend, the LVMPD stated on Facebook.

a desert shot of the las vegas monolith

The Vegas monolith. Photo: LVMPD


The social media account stayed on brand by using the occasion to promote trail safety while also committing egregious sins against a variety of punctuation.

“We see a lot of weird things when people go hiking like: not being prepared for the weather, not bringing enough water… but check this out!” the post reads.

“Over the weekend, Las Vegas Metro Search and Rescue spotted this mysterious monolith near Gass Peak north of the valley. HOW did it get up there?? While the internet gets to work on this mystery, remember: when enjoying our incredible outdoors, use the TRAIL acronym,” the post continues before giving some basic hiking safety tips.

Appearing, disappearing

CNN reported that some county residents already knew about the monolith. A few comments under the LVMPD’s Facebook post indicate it’s been in place for years, which isn’t exactly surprising. The similar Utah monolith sat in a red sandstone canyon for four years before anyone discovered it.

a mirrored monolith in Utah

The Utah monolith. Photo: Wikimedia Commons


The initial discovery kicked off a spate of copycat installations in 2020 and 2021, with over 200 recorded worldwide. The objects mostly appear on public land, and are often removed just as anonymously as they were erected — most likely by citizens interested in preserving natural landscapes. Consider it a much more time-intensive version of knocking over unhelpful cairns erected by social media stone-stacking enthusiasts.

So far, the public land agencies in charge of Gass Peak haven’t mentioned plans to remove the Las Vegas monolith. But if the past is any indication, it won’t last long.

Aliens or artists? Is there a difference?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, each time a monolith appears, various corners of the internet go wild with conspiracy theories. The comments under the LVMPD’s post are a mix of genuine appreciation, wild speculation, paranoia, and straight-up fearmongering.

But as we occasionally have to point out here at ExplorersWeb, the truth behind seemingly mind-boggling phenomena can often be attributed to biology, physics, or good old human nature.

The first monolith was almost certainly an art insulation of some sort, and the ones that followed were likely erected in that vein or as a grab for social media clout. Or, as an artist living on the Isle of Wight told the BBC, just for a lark.

“When I saw the first one pop up [in Utah] I thought it was brilliant, the second one popped up and I had a text from a friend which said ‘you’re the man that can do this on the island,'” Tom Dunford, a designer who erected a monolith on the island in late 2020, told the outlet.

“I did it purely for fun,” he said.

Andrew Marshall

Andrew Marshall is an award-winning painter, photographer, and freelance writer. Andrew’s essays, illustrations, photographs, and poems can be found scattered across the web and in a variety of extremely low-paying literary journals.
You can find more of his work at www.andrewmarshallimages.com, @andrewmarshallimages on Instagram and Facebook, and @pawn_andrew on Twitter (for as long as that lasts).