Coalbed gases in the Lower Silesian Coal Basin (LSCB) of Poland are highly variable in both their molecular and stable isotope compositions. Geochemical indices and stable isotope ratios vary within the following ranges: hydrocarbon (CHC) index CHC = CH4/(C2H6+C3H8) from 1.1 to 5825, wet gas (C2+) index C2+ = (C2H6+ C3H8+ C4H10+ C5H12) / (CH4+ C2H6+ C3H8+ C4H10+ C5H12) 100 (%) from 0.0 to 48.3%, CO2-CH4 (CDMI) index CDMI = CO2/ (CO2+ CH4) 100 (%) from 0.1 to 99.9%, ??13C(CH4) from -66.1 to -24.6%o, ??D(CH4) from -266 to -117%o, ??13C(C2H6) from -27.8 to -22.8%o, and ??13C(CO2) from -26.6 to 16.8%o. Isotopic studies reveal the presence of 3 genetic types of natural gases: thermogenic (CH4, higher gaseous hydrocarbons, and CO2), endogenic CO2, and microbial CH4 and CO2. Thermogenic gases resulted from coalification processes, which were probably completed by Late Carboniferous and Early Permian time. Endogenic CO2 migrated along the deep-seated faults from upper mantle and/or magma chambers. Minor volumes of microbial CH4 and CO2 occur at shallow depths close to the abandoned mine workings. "Late-stage" microbial processes have commenced in the Upper Cretaceous and are probably active at present. However, depth-related isotopic fractionation which has resulted from physical and physicochemical (e.g. diffusion and adsorption/desorption) processes during gas migration cannot be neglected. The strongest rock and gas outbursts occur only in those parts of coal deposits of the LSCB which are dominated by large amounts of endogenic CO2. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.