Hot tetrachloroethene (perchloroethylene, PCE) extracts significant amounts of elemental sulfur (So) from weathered coals but not from pristine coals. The objective of this study was to determine whether So extracted by PCE is an oxidation product of pyrite or whether it originates in some way from unstable, organically-bound sulfur. The isotopic composition of the PCE-extracted So was compared to the isotopic compositions of the pyritic and the organic sulfur in a coal. The So was shown to have an isotopic signature similar to the pyritic sulfur. Additionally, the isotopic differences observed between the pyritic, So and sulfatic sulfur were consistent with bacterial mediated oxidation of sulfide sulfur (pyrite) as the source of both the sulfatic and elemental sulfur. ?? 1990.