Where does surface rights end and mineral begin?

I have asked attorneys in three state this question and have not been able to get any type of conclusive answer. The issue I am discussing is the gravel under the surface!

See if this article answers any of your questions ...

32-Fambrough_Judon_Minerals_Surface_Rights_Royalty_Payments2009.pdf (963 KB)

Gravel in Texas ...

In the Texas Property Code, Section 75.001, the definition definition is: "Mineral" means oil, gas, uranium, sulphur, lignite, coal, and any other substance that is ordinarily and naturally considered a mineral in this state, regardless of the depth at which the oil, gas, uranium, sulphur, lignite, coal, or other substance is found.

Texas cases have stated that gravel is not considered part of the minerals and are part of the surface. In Heinatz v Allen, the court excluded the following substances from the mineral rights "sand, gravel, and limestone. Also, in the Moser v U.S. Steel case, the court in Texas excluded generic grants or reservations of "other minerals" fresh water, limestone, building stone, caliche, surface shale and sand and gravel. The courts in Texas have held that these are considered part of the surface and owned by the owner of the surface interest.

So, if you are the surface owner, you would own any of these substances under Texas case law as part of the surface.

This should answer your wondering.


States have differing laws regarding minerals and surface and so any answer first depends on the location. Your rights may also be affected by the terms of the deeds in your chain of title. There is no set answer - it all depends.

Thanks, for the Texas law, I guess I should have stated that this is Oklahoma law. Again thanks