The Be mineral beryl was known to the ancients, and Pliny the Elder noted that many people considered emerald and beryl to be of the same nature. Of more recent interest is the presence of a cosmogenically produced isotope 10Be, with a half life of 1.5 million years, which therefore has considerable potential in the study of Earth surface processes and the tracing of surficial sediments in, e.g. magmatic processes. Strategically, Be has a very low absorption cross-section with respect to thermal neutrons; it is also an excellent reflector of neutrons and so it finds wide application in nuclear...

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