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The long-term consequences on the environment of materials containing potentially toxic elements must be assessed on the basis of experimental data obtained over short time-scales and from models of the phenomena involved over several tens of thousands of years. Predicting the future is only possible through the study of collection of past events to infer a possible long-term behaviour. However, not everything we would like to predict has already occurred in the past, nor is it necessarily observable under perfectly similar circumstances. Considering natural or artificial analogues permits us to study materials that, even if not homologous, are similar or equivalent to some of the properties of the unknown materials. Examples presented in this paper illustrates the fact that some reactions observed in short-term experiments can be validated over the long term only by examining such natural analogues.

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