Sulfur analyses by X-ray fluorescence give an average content of 107 ppm for 9 samples of fresh subaerially-erupted oceanic basalt and 680 ppm for 38 samples of submarine erupted basalt. This difference is the result of retention of sulfur in basalt quenched on the sea floor and loss of sulfur in basalt by degassing at the surface. The outer glassy part of submarine erupted basalt contains 800±150 ppm sulfur, and this amount is regarded as an estimate of the juvenile sulfur content of the basalt melt from the mantle. The slower cooled interiors of basalt pillows are depleted relative to the rims owing to degassing and escape through surface fractures. Available samples of deep-sea basalts do not indicate a difference in original sulfur content between low-K tholeiite, Hawaiian tholeiite, and alkali basalt. The H2O/S ratio of analyzed volcanic gases is generally lower than the H2O/S ratio of gases presumed lost from surface lavas as determined by chemical differences between pillow rims and surface lavas. This enrichment of volcanic gases in sulfur relative to water may result from a greater degassing of sulfur relative to water from shallow intrusive bodies beneath the volcano.