Halothane induces the release of Ca2+ from a subpopulation of sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicles that are derived from the terminal cisternae of rat skeletal muscle. Halothane-induced Ca2+ release appears to be an enhancement of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release. The low-density sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicles which are believed to be derived from nonjunctional sarcoplasmic reticulum lack the capability of both Ca2+-induced and halothane-induced Ca2+ release. Ca2+ release from terminal cisternae vesicles induced by halothane is inhibited by Ruthenium red and Mg2+, and require ATP (or an ATP analogue), KCl (or similar salt) and extravesicular Ca2+. Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release has similar characteristics.