USA Today ran an interesting piece about how oil wells are springing up in surprising numbers in places like North Dakota.

Until oil hit $100 a barrel, it was not profitable to drill in some of these places. Now it is.

But as the story points out, often the landowner gets nothing, nada, nill -- even when the oil is right beneath the soil of his farm. Why? He doesn't own the mineral rights.

I suspect this story could be told just about anywhere. In Kentucky it would be coal rights. In Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere it could be oil rights. As natural gas becomes a greater part of our energy supply, gas rights will be important -- as they are learning in the great natural gas rush in Fort Worth, Texas.

Learn more about mineral rights, surface rights, drilling rights, leases and royalties here.

Should you keep you mineral rights even if you sell your home? Read this.