At a municipal solid waste landfill in southern California (USA) overlying a natural gas reservoir, methane was detected at concentrations of up to 40% (by volume) in perimeter soil gas probes. Stable isotope and (14)C values of methane together with gas composition (major components and volatile organic compounds) data were evaluated to assess the relative contributions of landfill gas and natural gas to the measured methane concentrations. The data was further used to estimate the residence time of the landfill gas in the probes. Results showed that up to 37% of the measured methane was derived from landfill gas. In addition, the landfill gas in the probe samples has undergone extensive alteration due to dissolution of carbon dioxide in pore water. Data further indicates that the measured methane was released from the waste approximately 1.2 to 9.4 years ago, rather than representing evidence of an ongoing release.