Abstract As an example of the application of the PIXE analysis technique to the study of sulfur and related trace metals in aerosol samples from nonurban locations, results obtained from a remote continental station in the Southern Hemisphere, Chacaltaya Mountain near La Paz, Bolivia, and a mid-ocean station in the Atlantic of the Northern Hemisphere, at Bermuda, are compared. In Bolivian filter samples, the proportions of Si, K, Ca, Ti, Fe, Rb, and Sr are within the ranges expected from the subaerial erosion of major rock types of the earth's crust. However, the proportions, relative to Fe, of S, Cu, Zn, As, and Pb are enriched 10–100 times in comparison with the compositions of major rock types. In Bermuda cascade impactor samples summed over all particle sizes, the ratio S/Zn and the relative of K, Ca, and Fe resemble those observed in Bolivia. Total Fe concentrations in Bermuda average about 60 ng/m 3, similar to concentrations observed in Bolivia. However, the ratios S/Fe and Zn/Fe are 10 times greater in Bermuda than in Bolivia, and these ratios are greatest for smallest particles and decrease sharply with increasing particle size. The higher S and Zn concentrations in Bermuda may result from the combined effect of natural processes which control the atmospheric enrichment of chalcophile elements and of long range transport from pollution sources in urban and industrial centers.