Extractions and analyses for amino acids were made on two cores from California offshore basins and one sample from a submarine canyon. The results obtained with an automatic analyzer agree in general with those from paper chromatography. They reveal the presence of amino acids in both free and combined forms. The combined amino acids, which require hydrolysis of the sediment for their release, are far more abundant than free ones. Nitrogen in amino acids near the sediment surface constitutes a high proportion of total Kjeldahl nitrogen, but the concentration of amino acids decreases with depth far more steeply than does Kjeldahl nitrogen. Accordingly, most of the nitrogen at depth exists in an organic form other than proteins or other materials that are hydrolyzable to amino acids.