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Magnesium is a chemical element that belongs to the group of alkaline earth metals. Magnesium is common, especially in many minerals and in the leafy green of plants. It is a light metal that shines solid and silvery. Magnesium shavings (and powder) are very flammable solids that are self-heating in large quantities. Flammable gases are formed on contact with water. These properties make magnesium shavings useful in the manufacture of lighters and fireworks.