Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Geochemistry

Part of the series Encyclopedia of Earth Sciences Series pp 1-3

Date: Latest Version


  • Jeffrey G. RyanAffiliated withSchool of Geosciences, University of South Florida Email author 

Element Data

Atomic symbol: Be

Atomic number: 4.

Atomic weight: 9.01218.

Stable isotope: 9Be (9.0121822 amu): 100 %; Relevant radioisotopes: 10Be (t1/2 ≈ 1.38 Ma), 7Be (t1/2 ≈ 53.28 days)

1 Atm melting point: 1287 °C

1 Atm boiling point: 2471 °C

Valence: + 2.

Ionic radius: 0.41 Å (tetrahedral); 0.59 Å (octahedral)

Pauling electronegativity: 1.57

First ionization potential: 9.322

CI chondritic abundance: 0.025 ppm

Continental crust: 1.9 ppm

Silicate Earth: 0.07 ppm

Seawater: 0.0018 pg/g

Core abundance: ~ 0

(, 2016; McDonough, 2004; Palme et al., 2014)


Beryllium, the lowest atomic number alkaline earth element, is a steel-gray, brittle, lightweight metal. It is most commonly encountered in a small number of silicate and oxide minerals and occurs as a low abundance, lithophile trace element in most geologic systems.

History and Use

Beryllium was discovered by Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin in 1798 in the oxide form via extraction from emerald and beryl. In 1828, Friedrich Wohler and ...

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