Chlorine stable isotope compositions ( delta Cl-37) of 22 mid- ocean ridge basalts ( MORBs) correlate with Cl content. The high-delta Cl-37, Cl- rich basalts are highly contaminated by Cl- rich materials ( seawater, brines, or altered rocks). The low-delta(37) Cl, Cl- poor basalts approach the composition of uncontaminated, mantle- derived magmas. Thus, most or all oceanic lavas are contaminated to some extent during their emplacement. MORB- source mantle has delta(37) Cl <= -1.6 per mil (%), which is significantly lower than that of surface reservoirs (similar to 0 parts per thousand not equal). This isotopic difference between the surface and deep Earth results from net Cl isotopic fractionation ( associated with removal of Cl from the mantle and its return by subduction over Earth history) and/ or the addition ( to external reservoirs) of a late volatile supply that is Cl-37- enriched.