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.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on alkaline-earth metals from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Compounds and Elements