Internet sleuths needed just two days to track down a mysterious metal monolith planted deep in the Utah desert.
The discovery of the shimmering structure by wildlife officials as they flew over the Mars-like Red Rock region was revealed on Monday, but its precise location was kept secret.
That set off a furious hunt by internet detectives who used flight tracking data to home in on the likely spot.
The co-ordinates were shared on Reddit by Tim Slane, who also scanned the map for the exact features of the terrain seen in the photos and videos released by officials.
David Surber, 33, spotted the Reddit post and drove six hours through the night before reaching the monolith on Wednesday.
“I decided to go there first because I was drawn to the fact that this object had been there for five years, hidden in nature,” he said.
At first he was alone – but others soon started to turn up having spotted the co-ordinates online.
“I knew that once the location became public knowledge that people would visit the area,” said Mr Slane.
“I have received some angry messages for my revealing of the location. If I had not found it, someone else would likely have found it soon enough.”
Mr Surber, a former US Army infantry officer, described the online investigation “a good escape from all the negativity we’ve experienced in 2020”.
How the monolith got there remains a mystery. Some believe it was planted by aliens, but the most popular theory is that it is the work of a conceptual artist.