Abstract Both surface and bulk fictive temperatures of chlorine-containing silica glass were measured using the IR method, after thermal, mechanical and chemical treatments. A metastable equilibrium state at 1200 °C was first established for the glass by heat-treatment and a uniform fictive temperature was observed except for the sample surface created by polishing after the heat-treatment. The densified layer of the polished surface shifted the IR peak wavenumber, making the fictive temperature appear higher than the bulk. During the second heat-treatment at 950 °C, the sample with the as-heat-treated surface and uniform fictive temperature of 1200 °C developed non-uniform fictive temperature distribution with the bulk fictive temperature becoming lower than the surface fictive temperature. Usually, surface structural relaxation is faster than bulk structural relaxation and the surface fictive temperature becomes lower than the bulk fictive temperature when heat-treated at a lower temperature than the initial fictive temperature. The observed anomalous feature was attributed to chlorine volatilization from the glass surface layer creating a high viscosity surface layer. This conclusion was supported by the diffusion data of chlorine in the glass available in the literature.