Abstract The shape and extended fine structure of the manganese K absorption discontinuity have been studied in the pure metal and in its four oxides. viz. MnO, Mn 3O 4, Mn 2O 3 ad MnO 2 using a bent crystal Cauchois type spectrograph of 40cm diameter. The shape of the main discontinuity for the oxides is discussed on the basis of molecular orbital theory. Our results show a complimentarity between the absorption spectra and the emission spectra obtained earlier by Tsutsumi et al. for some of these oxides. The extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) is discussed in the light of the recent proposed by Lytle et al.