In the Kuparuk River Unit 2D-15 well, on the North Slope of Alaska, a 60 m-thick stratigraphic interval that lies within the theoretical pressure-temperature field of gas-hydrate stability is inferred to contain methane hydrates. This inference is based on interpretations from well logs: (1) release of methane during drilling, as indicated by the mud log, (2) an increase in acoustic velocity on the sonic log, and (3) an increase of electrical resistivity on the electric logs. Our objective was to determine the composition and source of the gas within the shallow gas-hydrate-bearing interval based on analyses of cutting gas. Headspace gas from canned drill cuttings collected from within the gas-hydrate-bearing interval of this well has an average methane to ethane plus propane [C1/(C2 + C3)] ratio of about 7000 and an average methane ??13C value of -46% (relative to the PDB standard). These compositions are compared with those obtained at one well located to the north of 2D-15 along depositional strike and one down-dip well to the northeast. In the well located on depositional strike (Kuparuk River Unit 3K-9), gas compositions are similar to those found at 2D-15. At the down-dip well (Prudhoe Bay Unit R-1), the C1/(C2 + C3) ratios are lower (700) and the methane ??13C is heavier (-33%). We conclude that the methane within the stratigraphic interval of gas hydrate stability comes from two sources-in situ microbial gas and migrated thermogenic gas. The thermal component is greatest at Prudhoe Bay. Up-dip to the west, the thermogenic component decreases, and microbial gas assumes more importance. ?? 1990.