Biogenic gas hydrates were recovered in shallow cores (< 6 m deep) from the Eel River basin in offshore northern California between 40??38??? and 40??56???N. The gas hydrates contained primarily methane (??13C = -57.6 to -69.1???) and occurred as dispersed crystals, small (2-20 mm) nodules, and layered bands within the sediment. These hydrates, recovered in sediment at water depths between 510 and 642 m, coincide nearly, but not exactly, with areas showing bottom-simulating reflectors (BSRs) on seismic-reflection records. This study confirms indirect geophysical and geologic observations that gas hydrates are present north of the Mendocino Fracture Zone in sediment of the Eel River basin but probably are absent to the south in the Point Arena basin. This discovery extends the confirmed sites of gas hydrates in the eastern Pacific region beyond the Peruvian and Central American margins to the northern California margin. ?? 1991.