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Recurrence quantification analysis (RQA) is used to characterize a dynamical transition that takes place in the diffusive sandpile. The transition happens when a combination of the drive strength, diffusivity, and overturning size exceeds a critical value. Above the transition, the self-similar transport dynamics associated to the classical (nondiffusive) sandpile is replaced by new transport dynamics dominated by near system-size, quasiperiodic avalanche events. The deterministic content of transport dynamics, as quantified by RQA, turns out to be quite different in both phases. The time series analyzed with RQA in this work correspond to local sand fluxes at different radial locations across the diffusive sandpile.