This invention relates generally to olefin metathesis, and more particularly relates to the synthesis of terminal alkenes from internal alkenes using a cross-metathesis reaction catalyzed by a selected olefin metathesis catalyst. In one embodiment of the invention, for example, a method is provided for synthesizing a terminal olefin, the method comprising contacting an olefinic substrate comprised of at least one internal olefin with ethylene, in the presence of a metathesis catalyst, wherein the catalyst is present in an amount that is less than about 1000 ppm relative to the olefinic substrate, and wherein the metathesis catalyst has the structure of formula (II) ##STR00001## wherein the various substituents are as defined herein. The invention has utility, for example, in the fields of catalysis, organic synthesis, and industrial chemistry.
 This invention was made with Government support under grant no. DE-FG36-04G014016 awarded by the Department of Energy. The U.S. Government has certain rights in this invention.