Seasonal production of siliceous phytoplankton and a seasonal flux of terrigenous clastic material produced varved sediments along the continental slope off California during the late Pleistocene to mid-Holocene. Light-colored sediment within laminations and in sediment-trap samples was deposited during summer upwelling and contains an abundance of the diatoms Skeletonema costatum and Chaetoceros spp. resting spores. Dark-colored sediment deposited in the fall and winter contains abundant Thalassiosira pacifica, and has more terrigenous material. Distribution of diatoms in varves shows that seasonal upwelling has persisted along the California coast and has remained strongly seasonal since the late Pleistocene. ?? 1987.