When workers from the Department of Public Safety came across a mysterious monolith in the middle of the Utah desert, they thought they were looking at an “alien life-form”.

But once they got up close they realised the object has screws in it and so is most likely man-made – and it's now been revealed exactly who put it there.

The shiny three-metre metal structure was spotted by a helicopter pilot last week, and the news instantly went viral with theories that it could be a piece of alien technology like in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The mystery object has captured the imagination of millions of people on the internet

Helicopter pilot Bret Hutchings spotted the smooth metal structure as he was flying overhead helping wildlife resource officers count bighorn sheep last week.

It didn’t take long for the internet to do its thing, and by Wednesday, the coordinates of the monolith appeared to have been confirmed by someone on Reddit.

Tim Slane discovered a small Redstone canyon on Google Earth, which features a narrow gap closely resembling that seen in photos of the monolith released by Utah authorities.

Utah officials have refused to identify the exact location of the mysterious monolith
Utah officials have refused to identify the exact location of the mysterious monolith

He then used Google Earth's satellite images to look at the area from far above. The photos show an indistinct object in the middle of the canyon that casts a long, narrow shadow across the ground.

What's more, Google Earth photos show no sign of the monolith up until 2016 when the surrounding area appears to have been cleared of scrub. This indicates the huge object may have been placed in its current location up to four years ago.

Department of Public Safety workers thought the object was an 'alien life-form'

The coordinates Slane claims to contain the monolith are 38°20′35.2″N 109°39′58.5″W – although be warned. If this is indeed the famous monolith, it's in a very remote area with no reception.

Amateur explorers are not advised to go searching for it as there's a good chance they could get lost with no means of communication.

But the mystery remained about who might have put the monolith there.

The Art Newspaper observed that the object resembled the “free-standing plank sculptures” of the Minimalist artist John McCracken.

McCracken lived in New Mexico before his death in 2011 and his work is represented by the David Zwirner Gallery.

“The gallery is divided on this,” Mr. Zwirner said in a statement to the New York Times. “I believe this is definitely by John.”

He added: “Who would have known that 2020 had yet another surprise for us. Just when we thought we had seen it all. Let’s go see it.”

On Wednesday David then tweeted: “The portal to Utah is at David Zwirner 20th Street.”

The tweet had a picture of what appears to be an almost identical sculpture and linked to a viewing appointment page for his New York gallery, seemingly confirming the Utah desert monolith was indeed made by John McCracken.

The Daily Star has contacted the David Zwirner Gallery for further comment.