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Univ. of Kentucky College of Law

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Who Owns Land Created by a Volcanic Eruption?

Over at Land Use Prof, John Infranca has a great post about who owns land created by Volcanic Eruption in Hawaii.  The rub:

The court [in Kobayashi v. Zimring, 566 P.2d 725] distinguished the common law regarding accretion, the gradual increase of land through the deposit of soil.  Under the common law, owners of contiguous land take title to land formed by accretion.  In contrast, the court declared, β€œin cases where there have been rapid, easily perceived and sometimes violent shifts of land (avulsion) incident to floods, storms or channel breakthroughs, preexisting legal boundaries are retained notwithstanding the fact that former riparian owners may have lost their access to the water.”  Similarly, it noted that under California law if an accretion is caused by artificial means, the newly created land does not belong to the upland property owner.  The court concluded that β€œ[r]ather than allowing only a few of the many lava victims the windfall of lava extensions, this court believes that equity and sound public policy demand that such land inure to the benefit of all the people of Hawaii, in whose behalf the government acts as trustee.”

Steve Clowney

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/property/2012/08/who-owns-land-created-by-a-volcanic-eruption-.html

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