Two sites of the Deep Sea Drilling Project in contrasting geologic settings provide a basis for comparison of the geochemical conditions associated with marine gas hydrates in continental margin sediments. Site 533 is located at 3191 m water depth on a spit-like extension of the continental rise on a passive margin in the Atlantic Ocean. Site 568, at 2031 m water depth, is in upper slope sediment of an active accretionary margin in the Pacific Ocean. Both sites are characterized by high rates of sedimentation, and the organic carbon contents of these sediments generally exceed 0.5%. Anomalous seismic reflections that transgress sedimentary structures and parallel the seafloor, suggested the presence of gas hydrates at both sites, and, during coring, small samples of gas hydrate were recovered at subbottom depths of 238m (Site 533) and 404 m (Site 568). The principal gaseous components of the gas hydrates wer methane, ethane, and CO2. Residual methane in sediments at both sites usually exceeded 10 mll-1 of wet sediment. Carbon isotopic compositions of methane, CO2, and ??CO2 followed parallel trends with depth, suggesting that methane formed mainly as a result of biological reduction of oxidized carbon. Salinity of pore waters decreased with depth, a likely result of gas hydrate formation. These geochemical characteristics define some of the conditions associated with the occurrence of gas hydrates formed by in situ processes in continental margin sediments. ?? 1984.