Many neurosecretory preparations display two components of depolarization-induced exocytosis: a phasic component synchronized with Ca2+ channel opening, followed by a slower sustained component. We evaluated possible mechanisms underlying this biphasic behavior by stimulating mouse chromaffin cells in situ with both depolarizations and flash photolysis of caged Ca2+. From a direct comparison of the secretory responses to both stimuli, we conclude that phasic and sustained release components originate from a readily releasable pool (RRP) of equally fusion-competent vesicles, suggesting that differences in the vesicles' proximity to Ca2+ channels underlie the biphasic secretory behavior. An intermediate pool in dynamic equilibrium with the RRP ensures rapid recruitment of release-ready vesicles after RRP depletion. Our results are discussed in terms of a refined model for secretion in chromaffin cells.