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Alkaline Earth Metals

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The Importance of Calcium- Alkaline Earth Metals

Alkaline Earth Metals: In Our Bodies? 

Recall that Alkaline Earth Metals are elements in group 2 of the of the periodic table. They are silver or gray, with relatively low density and and relative softness. All Alkaline Earth Metals are extremely reactive because they readily give up their two valence electrons to achieve stability.

Credit: User: Sklmsta
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human-Skeleton.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Your entire skeletal structure is made up of Alkaline Earth Metals. [Figure1]

Calcium is the most relatable of the Alkaline Earth Metals. Although calcium does not appear in pure form in nature, it forms many compounds in the earth’s crust and seawater. Most importantly, however, it is essential to all living things.

Calcium is is essential to our bone and teeth structure as 99% of the calcium in our body is stored there. Calcium is also necessary to the process of muscle contraction and exocytosis (the process of vesicles fusing with the plasma membrane and releasing their contents to the outside of the cell). 

Creative Applications

1. What are some of the consequences of a diet lacking calcium?

2. What property of calcium makes it possible for us to see bone structures in an x-ray image?

3. Besides calcium, what are some other naturally occurring Alkaline Earth metals?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: User: Sklmsta; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Human-Skeleton.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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