Calcium is a chemical element with symbol Ca and atomic number 20. Calcium is a soft gray Group 2 alkaline earth metal, fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust. The ion Ca2+ is also the fifth-most-abundant dissolved ion in seawater by both molarity and mass, after sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfate. Free calcium metal is too reactive to occur in nature. Calcium is produced in supernova nucleosynthesis. Calcium is essential for living organisms, particularly in cell physiology where movement of the calcium ion into and out of the cytoplasm functions as a signal for many cellular processes. As a major material used in mineralization of bone, teeth and shells, calcium is the most abundant metal by mass in many animals.
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