The rivers of central Australia rise in the MacDonnell Ranges and flow out across broad, low-relief plains into the surrounding desert. The stratigraphy of the Ross River plain records the areal extent and frequency of Holocene floods. This floodout plain is underlain by deeply weathered alluvial deposits, characterized by red earth soils dated by thermoluminesence at >59,000 yr. This old alluvium is covered by a sheet-like deposit of very silty sand of probable eolian origin dated by thermoluminesence at 9200 �� 900 yr. The oldest Holocene alluvium occurs as broad, low-relief bars and levee deposits flanking the modem channel and as low-relief long-wavelength bedforms that fan out across the plain. This deposit resulted from a flood flow, up to 10 km wide, that covered the entire plain. Evidence for several large floods between 1500 and 700 yr B.P. is also preserved in a 500- to 1500-m-wide paleochannel. Thus, the surface features on the floodout plains are the product of a few rare large flood events. This paleohydrologic record is additional evidence of the dynamic nature of the hydrometerological regime of central Australia. �� 1993 University of Washington.