Looking at the geological pictures of the 2023 Turkey–Syria earthquake made me wonder: If a rift expands the surface of one's land, who owns the new land (i.e., the rift)?

I'm mostly interested in the United States.

Example of a rift that significantly expanded someone's property:

enter image description here

  • Turkey may be different, but usually property is determined by abstract boundaries seen from space, and not where the dirt happens to be. It's not that you own "the dirt contained in this square", you own the square (some provision about height, possible issued of sub-surface rights). Perhaps the pertinent question here is, if the jurisdiction has separable mineral rights, what changes in this case?
    – user6726
    Commented Feb 11, 2023 at 16:03

1 Answer 1


The relevant parties may go to court for an equitable solution.

See the 2010 California Code of Civil Procedure Chapter 3.6. Cullen Earthquake Act:

751.50. If the boundaries of land owned either by public or by private entities have been disturbed by earth movements such as, but not limited to, slides, subsidence, lateral or vertical displacements or similar disasters caused by man, or by earthquake or other acts of God, so that such lands are in a location different from that at which they were located prior to the disaster, an action in rem may be brought to equitably reestablish boundaries and to quiet title to land within the boundaries so reestablished.**

(my emboldenment and embedded link)

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