Decomposition of organic matter combined with density stratification generate a pronounced intermediate water oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in the northwest Indian Ocean. This zone currently lies between water depths of 200 and 2000 m and extends approximately 5000 km southeast from the Arabian coast. Based upon benthic foraminiferal assemblage changes, it has been suggested that this OMZ was even more extensive during the late Miocene-early Pliocene (6.5-3.0 Ma), with a maximum volume and/or intensity at approximately 5.0 Ma. While this inference may contribute to an understanding of the history of northwest Indian Ocean upwelling, corroborating geochemical evidence for this interpretation has heretofore been lacking. Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) sites 752, 754, and 757 on Broken and Ninetyeast ridges are located within central Indian Ocean intermediate water depths (1086-1650 m) but outside the present lateral dimensions of the Indian Ocean OMZ. High-resolution chemical analyses of sediment from these sites indicate significant reductions in the flux of Mn and normalized Mn concentrations between 6.5 and 3.0 Ma that are most pronounced at approximately 5.0 Ma. Because late Miocene-Pliocene paleodepths for these sites were essentially the same as at present and because extremely low sedimentation rates (0.3-1.3 cm/ky) most likely precluded sedimentary metal oxide diagenesis, we suggest that the observed Mn depletions reflect diminished deposition of reducible Mn oxyhydroxide phases within O2 deficient intermediate waters and that this effect was most intense at approximately 5.0 Ma. This interpretation implies that waters with less than 2.0 mL/L O2 extended at least 1500 km beyond their present limits and is consistent with changes in benthic foraminifera assemblages. We further suggest this expanded Indian Ocean OMZ is related to regionally and/or globally increased biological productivity.