The distribution patterns of opal and quartz on the ocean floor of the subtropical southeastern Pacific have been defined by analyzing 59 surface-sediment samples. The opal distribution resembles that of primary productivity in the surface waters, except along the Peruvian and northern Chilean coasts, where dilution reduces opal values. The distribution pattern of quartz represents both eolian and fluvial transport. Quartz distribution extends out as a tongue in the same direction and position as the prevailing southeast trade winds. Along the South American coast, high quartz concentrations are found in patches near shore and decrease rapidly seaward.