Abstract

Significant precipitation along the north-central coast of Peru (lat 5°-10°S) occurs exclusively during El Niño incursions of warm water into the Peruvian littoral. Flood deposits from this region therefore provide a proxy record of extreme El Niño events. I present a 3500 yr chronology of the extreme events based on radiocarbon dating of overbank flood sediments from the Rio Casma (lat 9.2°S).The flood-plain stratigraphy suggests that the El Niño phenomenon has occurred throughout the Holocene and that flood events much larger than that which occurred during 1982-1983 occur here at least once every 1000 yr.

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