The mysterious metal column found standing in Utah's desert was knocked down and dismantled by a group of men who considered it "trash", according to a witness.

Now, a second similar structure in Piatra Neamt, Romania, has also vanished.

As images of the first 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.

The comparison 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.

The structure was broken up and taken away in wheelbarrows

They 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.

Monolith
A similar monolith has also disappeared from Romania

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 Utah sculpture was hauled away at night
It appeared to be sheets of metal held together by wooden scaffolding

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 it was not
investigating because it considered the object private property,
and so a matter for the local sheriff.

The object drew comparisons to the alien monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey

The San Juan County Sheriff's office did not respond to
questions on Tuesday.

However, in a statement earlier this week said it "did not have the proper resources to devote much time" to the object's arrival or disappearance.

It comes as a second mystery metal monolith identical to the Utah one was discovered in Europe and then also vanished.

It is unclear if both monoliths are linked

It was spotted on Batca Doamnei Hill in the city of Piatra Neamt in Romania’s north-eastern Neamt County on November 26.

Authorities said the owner of the property is still unknown but whoever propped the monument up should have sought permission from the country's Ministry of Culture.

The local mayor Andrei Carabelea wrote on Facebook : "There is no reason to panic for those who think there is still life in the universe.

Adventure tour guide Sylvan Christensen has identified himself as one of those who removed the sculpture

"My guess is that some alien, cheeky and terrible teenagers left home with their parents' UFO and started planting metal monoliths around the world.

"First in Utah and then at Piatra Neamt. I am honoured that they chose our city.

"Beyond the conspiracy theories that can be tempting, I'd like to see this randomness as further proof that our city is special. For the earthlings and (maybe) not only."

He added that he hoped the monolith’s appearance would attract more tourists.

However, it has also since disappeared.