alkaline-earth metals, metals constituting Group 2 of the periodic table. Generally, they are softer than most other metals, react readily with water (especially when heated), and are powerful reducing agents, but they are exceeded in each of these properties by the corresponding alkali metal. They form divalent compounds. In order of increasing atomic number the alkaline-earth metals are beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium.
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